Month: November 2019

 

Affiliate Disclosure

 
Ben Greenfield triathlon

Ben Greenfield pumping his fist as he wins another Half-Ironman.

At the recent ITU Long Course World Championships, I took an amateur division gold medal for Team USA.

Within just 2 days, I was accused by multiple Facebook messages and e-mails of using “performance enhancing drugs”. That’s really not the first time this has happened (perhaps it’s because I used to be an all-natural bodybuilder?).

And then, earlier this morning as I was tooling around the kitchen, I listened to the most recent Everyman Endurance podcast interview with “Doper Next Door” author Andrew Tillin.

In that interview, Andrew talks about the effects of his massive testosterone dosing, including:

-beating other triathletes and cyclists who used to beat him…

-waking up the day after hard workouts and races, and being immediately ready to go hard again…

-being extremely horny and constantly full of sexual drive…

-having a high amount of aggressive, competitive drive…

-being able to easily put on muscle…

-training very little, but getting a ton of results from minimal training…

and pretty much everything that I personally feel on a daily basis.

As I stood there listening, I had the stark realization that it probably is evident that I must be taking performance enhancing drugs.

So I’m going to come right out and say it:

I admit to using performance enhancing drugs. 

There.

I said it.

In just a second, I’m going to tell you exactly what I’ve been taking, and at what doses.

But before I do, let me be clear about one thing. Although in the past year, I have tripled my testosterone levels (since finding out they were low in this podcast interview with Dr. Cohen)…

…I have never taken testosterone pills, patches, injections or creams – or ever gone near the stuff…

…I’ve also never blood doped, taken human growth hormone, used clenbuterol, or ever tried or gone near any of that stuff, or anything else that is an illegal performance enhancing drug…

So that being said, at the risk of giving all my competitors a stark advantage once they read this post, I’m going to now give away my exact performance enhancing drug use profile:

-Triglyceride based fish oil caps (like SuperEssentials) at 4-6 capsules per day, to increase levels of anti-inflammatory fatty acids. I like to also add in 1 tablespoon per day cod liver oil for extra Vitamin D & A. 

-4000-6000IU Vitamin D per day (stacked with this with fish oil), as a steroid and hormone precursor.

-4 Recoverease after easy workouts, and 6-8 after very difficult workouts (or races), for accelerating muscle repair. Capraflex is also a good alternative for this.

-250mg Natural Calm magnesium 30-60 minutes before bed, for enhancing sleep quality and testosterone.

-8-10 sprays Topical Magnesium sprayed on any area of body that is sore or stiff post-workout, and also sprayed on quads, calves and shoulders pre-race.

-5 Master Amino Pattern (MAP) before easy workouts and 10 before very difficult workouts (or races), to limit lean muscle damage.

-Adaptogenic herb for balancing testosterone:cortisol ratios and also for stress management (I personally do TianChi, taken on an empty stomach mid morning or mid afternoon).

-3-6 Caprobiotics and CapraColostrum per day for digestive health and immune system support (proper hormone production is intimately tied to gut health).

MillenniumSports Somnidren GH or Hammer REM caps for better sleep – either of these 30-60 minutes before bed (you make many of your hormones while you sleep).

-2-4 ProstElan per day for decreasing testosterone conversion to estrogens and enhancing sexual performance.

-I didn’t use this, but if you need to “jump start” the process with an herbal derivative, I recommend “Renew Male“.

In addition to the protocol above, I also sleep 8 hours a night, eat a diet that is very high in fat and low in processed or refined carbohydrate, and avoid excessive aerobic exercise.

There, I feel much better now after admitting my performance enhancing drug use.

What about you? Are you performing physically, mentally and sexually below your potential?

Not me. I’ve personally chosen better living through smart science.

I will now sit patiently and wait for the WTC, ITU, and any other governing triathlon body to disqualify me from races and strip me of my shiny medals.

And those of you who have been accusing me of drug use can now stop. I plead guilty.

If you have questions, comments or feedback, leave them below.

 

Affiliate Disclosure

bpc 157
 

Update: Since writing this article, I’ve found a well-absorbed oral form of BPC-157 made by a company called “Dr. Seed’s.” It seems to work quite well, especially for the gut-healing component of BPC-157 use. You can get it here and use code BEN for 15% off.


For the past four weeks, I’ve woken up, stumbled out of bed into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, fetched a tiny bottle of something called “BPC-157” and proceeded to stab myself with an insulin syringe to inject it into various parts of my body. Using this strategy, in just one month, I have…

…shut down gut inflammation from a bout of travel, racing, and stress…

…completely healed golfer’s elbow, medial epicondylitis, and inner elbow pain…

…and healed a torn upper hamstring with lightning speed.

This stuff should be illegal.

It probably will be soon.

But I simply couldn’t keep this potent healing tactic to myself. Enjoy, and proceed at your own risk.


What Is BPC-157?

BPC-157 is, in a word, a peptide. A peptide is simply a sequence of amino acids. OK, OK, lest you be donning a white lab coat and cringing from that simple description, then I’ll be more specific: a peptide is a compound consisting of two or more amino acids linked in a chain, the carboxyl group of each acid being joined to the amino group of the next by a bond like this: OC-NH.

In the case of BPC-157, the peptide is a sequence of amino acids with a molecular formula of 62 carbons, 98 hydrogens, 16 nitrogens, and 22 oxygen atoms (C62-H98-N16-O22).

Should you care to know the nitty-gritty specifics, that comes out to a fifteen amino acid sequence of the following:

L-Valine, glycyl-L-alpha-glutamyl-L-prolyl-L-prolyl-L-prolylglycyl-L-lysyl-L-prolyl-L-alanyl-L-alpha-aspartyl-L-alpha-aspartyl-L-alanylglycyl-L-leucyl-; glycyl-L-alpha-glutamyl-L-prolyl-L-prolyl-L-prolylglycyllysyl-L-prolyl-L-alanyl-L-alpha-aspartyl-L-alpha-aspartyl-L-alanylglycyl-L-leucyl-L-valine.

Yep, that’s the long, fancy name for BPC-157.

BPC, for reasons you’re about to discover, stands for “Body Protecting Compound.” Your body already makes it in your own gastric juices in very small amounts, where it serves to protect and heal your gut. But if you can get the super-concentrated version and get it into your system, it has an extremely high level of biological healing activity just about anywhere you put it

And if many of the amino acids above look familiar to you, there’s good reason. I’ve talked about them before. I’ve used them orally for quite some time to heal injuries more quickly, to keep the body in anabolic state during or post-exercise, and to stave off central nervous system fatigue during long bouts of exercise. I have a quite comprehensive article about the oral use of amino acid tablets here.


What Does It Do?

BPC-157 is surprisingly free of side effects, and has been shown in research that’s been happening since 1991 to repair tendon, muscle, intestines, teeth, bone and more, both in in-vitro laboratory “test-tube” studies, in in-vivo human and rodent studies, and when used orally or inject subcutaneously (under your skin) or intramuscularly (into your muscle).

Just take a look at the following, all of which was hunted down and identified by the good folks at Suppversity in their article on BPC-157. BPC-157 has been shown to:

BPC-157 is also known as a “stable gastric pentadecapeptide” primarily because it is stable in human gastric juice, can cause an anabolic healing effect in both the upper and lower GI tract, has an antiulcer effect, and produces a therapeutic effect on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—all again surprisingly free of side effects.

As demonstrated in the research studies cited above, BPC-157 also accelerates wound healing, and—via interaction with the Nitric Oxide (NO) system—causes protection of endothelial tissue and an “angiogenic” (blood vessel building) wound-healing effect. This occurs even in severely impaired conditions, such as in advanced and poorly controlled irritable bowel disease, in which it stimulates expression of genes responsible for cytokine and growth factor generation and also extracellular matrix (collagen) formation, along with intestinal anastomosis healing, reversal of short bowel syndrome and fistula healing—all of which can extremely frustrating issues in people who have gut pain, constipation, diarrhea, and bowel inflammation.

So if you have frustrating joint pain that won’t go away, some kind of muscle tear, sprain or strain, or gut “issues”, you should definitely keep reading.


How To Get BPC-157

So how can you get our paws on this stuff? You can find BPC-157 at a few different peptide suppliers on the internet.

I’ll warn you though: kind of like online pharmacies, the websites are cheesy, and they technically aren’t allowed to sell or advertise these kinds of peptides as something appropriate for human consumption or human injection, but you can pretty easily find it and buy it if you know how to use your Googling skills properly.

I can’t ethically say any of these forms of BPC-157 are “superior” since none of it is technically legal to sell for human use (you’ll notice each site specifies that it is for laboratory chemical research only).

For reasons you’re about to discover, I also ordered, from MedLabGear:

  • One box of insulin syringes, preferably 1ml/1cc, with 28 gauge 1/2 inch attached needles (the slang term for these syringes), among self-injectors of peptides and hormones, is a “slin pin.”

bpc 157

bpc 157

IMG_7953

Compared to spending several thousand dollars to fly over to Europe for a stem cell injection, that is, cost-wise, a tiny drop in the bucket, especially when you consider the fact that this stuff can permanently heal and strengthen weak joints, connective tissues, muscles and gut. 


How To Mix BPC-157

When you get your bottle of BPC-157, it is going to look like this:

IMG_7950

See how it’s a powder? You have to “reconstitute” that powder.

This is where the bacteriostatic water (also known as “BAC water”) comes in. Here’s what to do with the BPC-157 powder and BAC water:

  1. Pop the caps off both the BPC-157 and BAC.
  2. Gently alcohol swab the rubber stopper on the BPC-157, then let it dry. Same goes with the BAC vial.
  3. Dose out the correct amount of BAC. In the case of a 30ml bottle of BAC, if you fill three insulin syringes full of water, then very slowly and carefully (peptides are extremely fragile) inject each of those syringes into a 5mg bottle of BPC-157, you are going to nearly completely fill the 5mg bottle of BPC-157.
  4. Once the 5mg bottle of BPC-157 is full, then based on this very handy Peptide Mixing & Dosing Calculator, each time you inject a 1ml/1cc syringe into it and pull that syringe back to the fifteenth tick mark, you are going to have yourself approximately 250mcg of BPC-157.

Voila. You’re done. You now have a  bottle of completely reconstituted and ready-to-rumble BPC-157. It will look something like this.

bpc 157

Before and after reconstitution, keep your BPC-157 away from UV rays, sunlight, and heat. It will remain stable at room temperature for up to ten weeks, but for the best storage and results, you should store in your refrigerator, in which case it will stay stable for up to six months. It will stay stable in a freezer for up to two years.

The stuff is super fragile. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of very slow and patient reconstitution. When you spray the BAC into the BPC, aim for the sides of the BPC bottle, and don’t spray directly onto the BPC powder itself. When you draw the BPC up into the syringe for injection or oral use, turn the bottle of BPC upside down very carefully and then draw the liquid up into the syringe very slowly. When you inject it or spray it into your mouth, inject it very slowly. If you keep it in the refrigerator, keep it away from things that might knock it over or jostle it around.

You get the idea. Treat your BPC like the fragile, million-dollar healing elixir that it is.


How Much Should You Take

There is an abundance of research on BPC-157 and it has been shown to be effective systematically when injected once daily at anywhere from 1-10mcg per kg of body weight. In most cases, this comes out to a dose of anywhere from 200mcg up to 800mcg. Some folks report the most success dosing twice per day with 250-350mcg for a total of 500-700mcg per day.

So as you can see, there’s quite a bit of variability in dosage recommendations.

I initially began to use BPC-157 for golfer’s elbow (inner elbow pain also known as “climber’s elbow” or “medial epicondylitis), and I personally, based on the majority of the research studies in humans, settled upon a self-administered subcutaneous BPC-157 injection of 250mcg in my left elbow on one day, then 250mcg in my right elbow the next day, for a total of two weeks. At this point, my elbow pain had completely disappeared, so I stopped.

Although, as I’ve mentioned, BPC-157 is free of side effects at normal dosages, I can tell you that the first time I used it, I accidentally dosed with 2500mcg instead of the 250mcg I planned to initially trial with, and I felt for about the next four hours what I would best describe as a slight amount of irritability and grumpiness, which was likely due to the anabolic cortisol response from a very minor overdose. This feeling passed within four hours, and I’ve felt no ill-effects since with daily dosing of 250mcg.


How To Inject BPC-157 Or Take It Orally

BPC-157 acts systemically. This means that whether you inject it subcutaneously (an easier and more-pain free under-the-skin method that you should do as close to the area of pain as possible), intramuscularly (the more painful and teeth-gritting version of essentially “stabbing” the needle into the muscle as close to the injury as possible), or you simply spray it into your mouth orally…

…the BPC-157 going to render some amount of benefit in whichever part of your body needs healing.

Oral administration of BPC-157 is quite straightforward. Just spray it into your mouth (remember: very slowly), hold it in your mouth for 90-120 seconds, then swallow.

Subcutaneous injections are also relatively simple, as long as you’re cool with needles. You can either pinch an area of skin near the injury site and thrust the needle into that pinched area of skin, or if (as was the case of my elbow) it’s too tough to simultaneously pinch your skin and inject yourself, you can recruit a helper or just “angle” the needle so it slips under unpinched skin.

Remember, always clean the rubber stopper with an alcohol swab and clean the area of injection with an alcohol swab. Always.

Here’s a video that shows you the basics of subcutaneous injection:

Finally, intramuscular injections are the toughest. The same rules apply as subcutaneous injections: clean, clean, clean with alcohol both the rubber stopper and the site of injection. However, unlike a simple under-the-skin injection, for an intramuscular injection you must stab the entire needle through the skin and into the muscle as close to the area of pain as possible. As I mentioned, I used this method with my hamstring, and just attempted to think happy thoughts and dwell upon rainbows and ponies as I jabbed the needle in. Considering how quickly my hamstring healed, the brief moment of discomfort was all worth it.

Here’s a video that shows you the basics of intramuscular injection:

For both the subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, you’ll experience better results and a more complete absorption and administration if you “massage” the general area of injection and pain for about 30-60 seconds with your fingers to really work the BPC into the tissue.


How Long To Take BPC-157

As I mentioned above, my bilateral inner elbow pain completely disappeared after I self-injected subcutaneously with 250mcg BPC-157 on alternating days to either the left elbow or right elbow for a total of two weeks.

After the elbow pain was gone, I strained my right hamstring while hill sprinting, and began daily intramuscular “lower-butt” injections of BPC-157 for a total of ten days, at which point, my hamstring was completely healed and pain-free.

Finally, for the pure joy of oral self-experimentation, I sprayed from a syringe 250mcg of BPC-157 into my mouth for a total of seven days. The BPC-157 induced a very similar feeling to the feeling I experience when drinking a cup of bone broth or eating a bowl of soaked chia seeds: a feeling of the GI tract being “coated” with some kind of protection, and a complete lack of any digestive issues, gas or bloating following any meals during that week-long time frame. I realize that’s a bit of a woo-woo explanation, and didn’t actually involve me gut testing for inflammatory markers like calmodulin or lactoferrin, but from an N=1 standpoint, it certainly seemed to me as a quite viable option for anyone who struggles with irritable bowel issues or gut inflammation.

Based on the current human studies to date, BPC-157 can be safely administered for four weeks, followed by a two-week rest. Speaking from my own personal experience, in which pain subsided after no more than two weeks of injections, I wouldn’t imagine you’d need to repeat this cycle unless you re-injured yourself.


Summary

OK, so you may be now wondering why in the heck your physician, physical therapist, surgeon, gastroenterologist, etc. hasn’t told you about this stuff.

Here’s the deal: since BPC-157 is a completely natural gastric juice peptide, it’s technically not patentable, period. That means big pharma can’t make money off BPC-157, and that means it’s not getting marketed to your local doctor or hospital or anywhere else in the health care system. It’s also not available as an FDA regulated drug, or even considered to be “sellable” for human use.

You may also be wondering if it’s legal for sports governed by bodies such as USADA or WADA.

Here’s the deal: although some “peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances, and mimetics” are indeed illegal for use in sports governed by these organizations, BPC-157 is not currently listed as one of those illegal compounds. Yet.

I’ll readily admit that when it comes to BPC-157, despite it being a peptide you can actually find in your own gastric juices, long term studies in humans are relatively sparse. It may also eventually be banned by sport governing bodies such as USADA and WADA.

But in the meantime, since no adverse reactions have been seen in any of the short-term human clinical trials to date, I’m taking full advantage of this stuff, and if you’re injured, have gut inflammation, or have any other nagging issue addressed by the research I’ve mentioned in this article, you may want to seriously consider adding BPC-157 to your rapid recovery arsenal.

Do you have comments or feedback about BPC-157? Have you used it yourself? Do you have your own peptide experiences or tips to add? Leave your thoughts below and I promise to reply.


The information in this article is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

 

Andrew Merle
Jun 15, 2015 · 3 min read
 
 
 
 

I recently finished reading the book “Brain Maker” by neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter in which he asserts that everything about our health — how we feel both emotionally and physically — hinges on the state of our microbiome (the vast population of organisms that lives in our body — basically our gut’s bugs).

He says that our microbiome is the ultimate brain maker, and that our gut’s bugs are just as vital to health as our heart, lungs, liver, and brain.

To break it down a bit further, he traces all manner of disease back to inflammation (e.g. diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, obesity, dementia, etc.). Our immune system controls inflammation and the microbiome regulates the immune response.

He says that we can control our inflammation and brain health just by nourishing our microbiome, and that anyone can change the state of their microbiome — and the fate of their health — through dietary choices.

In fact, Dr. Perlmutter argues that the most significant factor related to the health of our microbiome (and in turn our brain health) is the food that we eat!

Eating for Optimal Brain Health

Before getting into the specific 50 foods, here are a few principles Dr. Perlmutter recommends we live by:

  • Choose organic, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, high-quality fats, and foods free of toxic ingredients and antibiotics.
  • A diet high in rich sources of fiber, from whole fruits and vegetables, feeds the good gut bacteria.
  • Your main entrée should be mostly fibrous fruits and vegetables, with protein as a side dish. The ideal plate is a sizeable portion of vegetables (2/3 of your plate) and about 3 to 4 ounces of protein.

Brain-Maker Foods

Vegetables

  1. Leafy greens and lettuces
  2. Spinach
  3. Broccoli
  4. Kale
  5. Mushrooms
  6. Cauliflower
  7. Brussel Sprouts
  8. Green Beans
  9. Radishes
  10. Jicama

Low Sugar Fruit

11. Avocado

12. Bell peppers

13. Cucumber

14. Tomato

15. Zucchini

16. Squash

17. Eggplant

18. Berries

Fermented foods / Probiotics (eat at least 1 fermented food daily)

19. Live-cultured yogurt

20. Kefir

21. Kombucha Tea

22. Kimchi

23. Sauerkraut

24. Pickles (must be pickled in brine, not vinegar)

25. Picked fruit and vegetables (e.g. carrot sticks)

Healthy fat

26. Extra-virgin olive oil

27. Coconut oil

28. Organic or pasture-fed butter

29. Almond milk

30. Olives

31. Nuts and nut butters

32. Cheese (except for blue cheeses)

33. Seeds (flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds)

Protein

34. Whole eggs

35. Wild fish (salmon, black cod, mahimahi, grouper, herring, trout, sardines)

36. Shellfish and mollusks (shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, clams, oysters)

37. Grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry, and pork (beef, lamb, liver, bison, chicken, turkey, duck)

Herbs, seasonings, and condiments

38. Mustard

39. Horseradish

40. Salsa

41. Herbs and seasonings

Nature’s healthy indulgences

42. Coffee (2–5 cups daily)

43. Wine (1 glass per day for women, 1–2 glasses for men)

44. Dark chocolate (no more than 2–3 squares per day)

45. Tea

Prebiotics (12 grams daily)

46. Raw Jerusalem artichoke

47. Raw garlic

48. Raw leek

49. Raw or cooked onion

50. Raw asparagus

And one more “drink” for good measure

51. Filtered water (chlorine-free)

— — — — — — — — —

The majority of these foods and drinks are widely available in regular grocery stores, so I am definitely going to do my best build my diet around them. Perhaps it will work for you too.

In addition, Dr. Perlmutter recommends supporting this diet by incorporating exercise (at least 30 minutes) into your daily routine, and ideally going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time every day.

If you’re interested in the role of the gut in determining your brain’s health, I highly recommend reading “Brain Maker.” Dr. Perlmutter goes much deeper into the science behind this phenomenon, as well as how the microbiome can become damaged throughout life, and specific types of food to avoid. But hopefully this “cheat sheet” makes it clear how to eat to protect and preserve your brain.

Here’s to unlocking your brain’s full health and potential!

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Andrew Merle

WRITTEN BY

I write about healthy living. Subscribe to my email list at andrewmerle.com.

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20 Must-Know Facts About SEO

 

 

Aphinya Dechalert

Oct 31 · 6 min read
 
 
 
 

Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

There’s a massive market for SEO, with supposed gurus charging extortionist amount for secrets of the industry. The issue is, no one really knows exactly the different elements that go into the big magical box of Google known as the algorithm.

Except, there’s nothing much about what an algorithm really is — a set of rules that tries to generate the desired set of results based on inputs and data points.

As a former tech lead, I know that there are some things that SEO gurus don’t really go into because either it’s out of their technical depth or they have a shallow understanding of how algorithms and systems actually work.

There is often a divide of knowledge between those who actively work with code and those that don’t. Here are some things you should know about SEO, or to be more precise, 20 perspective points from the other side.


  1. To hit the front page is every business’ dream — except there is more than one front page. There are front pages based on location, time zones, search queries, and tailored front pages based on a particular users’ past internet-related interactions. You can’t hit them all, but you can hit at least one based on a selection of elements that makes up your desired search profile.
  2. A search profile is what your dream customer looks like. We’re talking age, gender, sexual orientation, demographics, geographical location, likes, dislikes, social media tendencies, past YouTube binges, and any other characteristics that make up a real person. Search engines exist to serve these people, and there’s a high chance that your search profile will exist.
  3. Casting a wide net for a search profile dilutes your product’s offering. The more targeted it is, the higher the chance for conversion from organic search results.
  4. Different people have different intentions and often land on a particular type of content because of it. Tailor your content to fit these intentions and solve their problems in order to achieve your specific landing goals.
  5. If you’re not ranking on Google at all and have no dashboard to tell you what’s going on, put your website through Google’s Webmasters. Google Analytics is great but Webmasters is made for SEO. This is the place where, if there’s a problem with your website’s code, it’ll tell you exactly where, why, and what penalties you actually have against your domain. It’s better to get the information from the source rather than speculate on what’s wrong.
  6. Write content for humans and not bots. You’re in the business of solving human problems. Google is in the business of solving human problems by connecting people with businesses that solve a particular question or problem.
  7. Social Engine Optimization is different from Search Engine Optimization. The first deals with a very different set of people who interact with your content under a different mindset. When it comes to search engines, most of the time, people are using it to search for answers. They’re not randomly scrolling through. Their attention is already set on what you could potentially offer them. Leverage this attention with your content.
  8. SEO is possibly 90% content and 10% technical. If you’re already using WordPress, most of the time the technical part is already completed. What matters the most in SEO is content — because that’s what you’re being ranked and searched on. The more content you have, the better chance of telling Google what you can do to meet a potential customer’s wants and needs.
  9. SEO is different from Google Ads. Yes, you can immediately send targeted traffic to your website by paying for it — but that’s a very different action than ranking on the first page from a set of search results. With true SEO, you’re not paying for anything at all, except maybe a content creator to help write your content.
  10. Don’t overthink keywords when it comes to content. Think in terms of ideas and topics. Write what people actually want to read. The trick is to pick a topic, write a few articles around it, and move on to the next sibling article. If you play your publishing schedule correctly, you can end up with organic and relevant traffic.
  11. Good copy has a purpose in mind. Anyone can write, but a lot of people struggle to write with purpose. Businesses with solid blogs often have articles that have good substance to their content. Keyword density is a flow-on effect of good writing and should not be used as the main metric for SEO rankings.
  12. Copying and pasting code on the internet that promises you great SEO without actually understanding what it does is often a sure way to hurt your website’s ranking.
  13. Don’t try to hack SEO or find some quick-fix solution. It won’t work. Google is always one step of you and will penalize you for attempting to cheat. SEO is a long game that emphasizes quality over time.
  14. Social media sharing does impact your final ranking. But like social media shares, this rank will degrade over time, depending on how the platform continues to present your post to an audience. If you’re doing current events reporting for your business, trust that it will have a limited shelf life. Evergreen content is not time-based, but Google will still try to find the most relevant and recently posted combination to present to users.
  15. Consistency of quality matters more than anything SEO experts will tell you.
  16. No, you don’t technically need a blog. If you’re in the service industry where people are very specific about their searches and geographical requirements, having a website is enough. However, it still needs content to rank — not just in pictures but words too. This is because Google still hasn’t figured out how to properly deal with images just yet.
  17. SEO is essentially your written version of your marketing content. If you have consistent campaigns, you should also have consistent content to match across all your channels that are driving traffic. Although users haven’t directly entered through Google, if they are signed into their Gmail account, Google will know that they’ve visited the website. This is how you get retargeted for ads. It is also how Google knows about the existence of your website if you’re new to the game.
  18. Always create original content. Never steal. Google knows when you’ve been plagiarizing and will reject your page. Recycled content is next-tier on Google’s negative strikes. But if you need to have duplicate content for whatever reason, be sure to add canonical tags to the duplicated content so Google doesn’t penalize the duplicates.
  19. Some platforms allow you to customize your URLs. If you want good SEO, structure your domain based on your category, followed by an optional second category, and then a keyword. There’s a misconception that it has to be your post title, but it doesn’t. Think of your URL as an index card for humans and Google bots. It also makes things easier to share, especially on Twitter due to length. An example: yourwebsite.com/primary-category/second-category/primary-keyword
  20. Meta tags don’t impact on actual ranking — as officially announced in 2009 by Google. They do, however, impact the click-through rate from the search engine, which can impact positively on a particular’s page relevancy as judged by the end user. The circled red area below is an example of how meta tags impact what your search results show. Without this, it simply grabs the first excerpt of the page — which may not be as effective for click-through conversion.


And that’s basically SEO in a nutshell. There’s more to it, but these are usually the main points I want to tell people when they ask me about the subject.

If you have a decent backlog of content and still aren’t ranking at all, then it’s time to get someone to look at the code. However, perfect code won’t solve your lack of content.

It’s easier to rank if you have consistent and relevant content, even if your website isn’t set up for SEO. So don’t overthink the task of ranking — focus on your other digital marketing strategies first, get those eyeballs on your website and entice them to return. Google will know, in its own special way, and will send bots to figure out what you’re all about.

The purpose of ranking is to get users who are most likely to convert. So be sure to create for this reason and not for what you think the bots will want.

 

Thanks to Niklas Göke. 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Aphinya Dechalert

WRITTEN BY

Preparing for another epic year. Open to opportunities. Connect with me linkedin.com/in/dechalert/ | dottedsquirrel.com | YouTube: bit.ly/2kBrdh0

https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/nutrition-podcasts/psoriatic-arthritis-diet/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:43] Podcast Sponsors

[00:04:16] Guest Introduction

[00:09:02] The “Godfather” Of the Online Fitness Industry Journey

[00:13:39] Changes in The Online Fitness Industry

[00:16:14] Taking a Back Seat in the Business

[00:24:28] The Steps from Debilitating Illness to A Nearly Complete Recovery

[00:29:11] Podcast Sponsors

[00:32:18] cont. The Steps from Debilitating Illness to A Nearly Complete Recovery

[00:37:09] Lifestyle Practices Used to Control Stress

[00:41:22] Reflexology 101

[00:48:46] Other Big Wins Discovered in His Recovery

[00:55:57] Involvement in The Fitness Industry

[00:57:02] The Rewind Bars

[01:02:00] Writing About the Journey

[01:02:36] Closing the Podcast

[01:05:03] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Ryan:  I got to try before I get on drugs. He’s like, “Alright. Well, give it a try, come back and we’ll put you on the meds.” I never went back in and I never went on the medication, never missing an event, just being there all the time and doing everything I can to build my business 100% virtual and be home with them. Yeah. Someone can take away from this interview that, “Hey, I could just simplify stuff and reduce the overwhelm, then my job is done.”

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Well, howdy ho. Today’s podcast is with special guest, Ryan Lee. You’re going to really dig this, dude. We talked a little bit about joint pain, about autoimmunity, and about inflammation in today’s show. So, I would be remiss not to let you know about the brand-new supplement I just launched. I’ve been working behind the scenes in the secret Batman labs at Kion on a brand new version of Kion Flex. So, what we did was we managed to isolate this special part of turmeric that’s not curcumin, which you might be familiar with. Instead, what we got are the turmerosaccharides, which are actually far more bioavailable and provides significant joint health benefits. The body of research on this stuff is absolutely staggering when it comes to reducing joint swelling and tenderness.

And then, we blended that with AyuFlex, which comes from this Ayurvedic superfruit called Terminalia, and this one improves joint flexibility. So, it’s going to help out with mobility, joint discomfort, joint soreness. And then, we threw in proteolytic enzymes, which are kind of the final icing on the recovery cake. And these things, of course, have been used for a very long time to knock out soreness. But when you combine them with the turmerosaccharides and AyuFlex, I’ve been popping three of these every night on an empty stomach, they are absolutely mind-blowingly effective for supporting your joints and for helping you to bounce back after a tough workout or when you’re injured. So, we just launched this formula. It’s called Flex. It’s available now at 10% discount to you. You go to getkion.com/flex. That’s getK-I-O-N.com/flex. And you can use discount code BGF10 at the checkout to get 10% off.

So, while you’re at it, while you’re popping out your soreness with the Kion Flex, you may also want to try this amazing blood flow formula called Organifi Red. Now, with the red juice, they took 11 different superfoods like cordyceps, and acai, and beetroot, and all these things that help to build your blood, but also help to revitalize the skin. And they put them all together into this wonderful tasting red juice, they call it. And if you look at the cost per serving on the stuff, it comes out to just a little bit over $1.50 for a giant bottle of this juice. You just put the powder into like a Nalgene water bottle, add some icy cold water, you drink this and you’re getting red juice. It’s equivalent what you pay like 12 to 15 bucks for at your local cold-pressed juicery or anywhere else where you’re getting these fancy overpriced juices.

So, Organifi has a green one, they have a gold one, but the red one, especially if you’re an athlete or somebody looking for a lot of good blood flow and the anti-aging effects, this stuff’s really great, and it tastes really good too. Anyways, you get a 20% discount on any of the Organifi products including the red juice. I highly recommend this one. And the way you do that is you go to organifi.com/ben. That’s Organifi with an “I” dot com/ben and use discount code BENG20.

Hey, folks. My guest on today’s podcast, Ryan Lee, and I go pretty far back. As a matter of fact, not to blow smoke, Ryan, but this guy that you’re about to hear me talk to is probably responsible for initially kind of initiating and teaching me just about everything I know in the realm of online marketing and success in the fitness industry. I mean, it was like over a decade ago that I started to delve into Ryan’s teachings and website. I think it was like some hokey strength training website with animated GIFs.

Ryan:  Oh, yeah.

Ben:  And like templates for workouts. And I used to sit there at the gym where the–where was I? The Liberty Lake Athletic Club, one of the first gyms I managed. And I’d use Ryan’s systems and teachings and software to systematize a lot of what I was doing. And then, I started to attend Ryan’s conference back in the day in Connecticut. I learned how to create information products and eBooks, and virtual coaching programs and all these kinds of profit-generating and information scaling tools that I still utilize quite a bit to this day. But I mean, Ryan is really one of the guys who’s responsible for taking me from being a fledgling personal trainer into learning how to scale my knowledge and reach a lot more people. So, you’re going to get a chance to learn a lot more about Ryan shortly because he has a great story, and he also has a lot to bring to the table as far as autoimmune disease, which we’re going to address in detail today as well.

So, Ryan is an exercise physiologist. He recently founded a bar company called Rewind. He’s written a ton of books, particularly in the fitness and the fitness business industry like “The Millionaire Workout” and “Passion to Profits.” He’s been featured on the front page of Wall Street Journal. He’s been named by Entrepreneur magazine as the world’s number one lifestyle entrepreneur. And he also has a very interesting backstory that’s occurred over the past few years in terms of his own personal health journey. So, as you listen to Ryan and I chatted up, you can hit the shownotes and leave your own questions or comments or feedback, or delve into anything that we talk about if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee. That’s L-E-E, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee. So, Ryan, welcome to the show, man.

Ryan:  Wow. What an intro. I got to say that it’s been really, really cool to see your journey. I remember everyone who goes to my events, and I remember you from the beginning, and we hit it off right away. I remember even hanging out at Sam after one of the events just going out. I was always struck by you. I’m like, “Man, this guy is sharp.” Like you got it, and not only did you get it, you always implemented it. So, it’s been so cool to see people like you and some of my other clients like Jeff Cavalier from ATHLEAN-X and [00:07:29] ______. And so, many people take this stuff and just go with it and impact so many lives. I’m truly grateful for you then kind of returning the favor and having me on your show today because I know you reach a lot of great people as well, so this is going to be fun. I’m just here to share and to help as many people as I can.

Ben:  Well, thanks, man. Thanks. I appreciate your kind words. And I actually remember Sam. You’re talking about the one, that conference that you put on at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah?

Ryan:  Yeah, Park City.

Ben:  Yeah, Yeah. I do recall that. I connected with Garrett Gunderson there, who later went on to become my financial advisor for like seven years. I remember we all went to–actually, my faint memory is that we wound up at a nightclub in Park City afterwards and one of your speakers–I think it was Mike Koenigs wound dancing on stage in a giant dinosaur costume. I believe that was the event.

Ryan:  That sounds about right.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ryan:  That sounds about right. But I do remember you. You were one of the guys. Whenever I’d have a product for sale, back in the day, you’d watch the receipts come in. Almost without fail, first one, two or three orders, Ben Greenfield, Ben Greenfield Fitness. I mean, you went to almost all my events. You were there, you were in the front row, you were taking notes. Now we’re ready to rock, baby, and it’s just really cool seeing what you do. So, now I would dump blowing smoke. Let’s get some stuff out there, Ben. Come on.

Ben:  I figured we could just blow smoke for an hour and people could sit back and listen in —

Ryan:  We could do that, too.

Ben:  –completely useless podcast. Alright, sorry. Sorry, you guys. Sorry, our listeners. We’ll get into the good stuff now. I think a lot of people perhaps don’t realize that you’re the godfather of a lot of the online fitness industry, Ryan. And before we delve into what’s kind of changed for you recently, from what I understand, you actually got your start as like a personal trainer and strength coach coming from the realm of exercise physiology, but can you give people a background of where you came from as far as going from a fledgling personal trainer into a guy who really made it in the fitness industry?

Ryan:  Sure. And actually, my first job, some people don’t even realize this, I worked for six years right out of college in the Children’s Rehab Hospital. It was called Blythedale Children’s Hospital, and I was a recreational therapist. I was a CTRS, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. So, I did adapt aquatic. So, I took the kids in the pool and did exercise there. We did sports games and fitness, even craft projects. I worked from 2:00 pm to 10:00 p.m. So, we would do things like capture the flag at night after all the other therapists had left. So, I spent six years doing that. And on the side, in the mornings when I had free, I was a trainer. I’d go to people’s houses, I would go to gyms, I would run speed agility clinics. I would then, during lunch breaks or dinner breaks, when my hour’s shifted, I would train young athletes at their house. And that’s what I did at night. I put myself through graduate school and got a master’s in exercise physiology.

Ben:  Wait, wait, wait. I’m just going to stop you for just a second. Are you saying that you did —

Ryan:  Yeah. I have a lot of stuff.

Ben:  You didn’t start off by getting calf implants in an Instagram channel?

Ryan:  Well, I was practicing the selfie, whatever the face they do with those lips, the fish lip selfie, I was working on that. So, this goes back to ’94. This is when I started at the Children’s Hospital. This was obviously really before the internet took off. The way I got into the internet’s working at the hospital and it was like mid-1998 and I just got a computer at home, a Compaq something. I don’t remember what it was. It was like a Compaq all in one with like a floppy disk. We got the internet dial-up and I said, “You know what, I should have a little website for my sports training company because I was training athletes.” And I used FrontPage 98. I couldn’t even get that up, so my neighbor Jonathan, who was 12 years old, I gave him 20 bucks and he helped me get my site up. I mean, that’s what happened and I started writing articles about training because this was obviously before YouTube and Facebook and all this other stuff. Back then, Ben, you couldn’t have videos online, so it was just articles. Even when I took pictures, they would take five minutes to download. So, it’s just mostly articles.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, articles and GIFs. I remember when I used to go to a lot of your websites to learn these different strength moves, you had like software where you could put together workouts for people and then send them to them. There were no photos and videos, it was all those animated GIFs.

Ryan:  That was it. That was the only thing you could do, and no one obviously had smartphones, so you couldn’t check it on the phone. So, it’s these little animated GIF files we created to show all the training by way of my athletic background. So, I was a competitive track and field athlete and ran all through college and captain in my college track team. So, that was my training. So, I love doing speed training, but you’re right, we couldn’t really even do big photos or videos, so we started doing that online and lo and behold, this thing just kept growing. I hired a trainer, and some people might know this guy’s name, to help me create training programs so people would pay me like $100 for a sports training program.

Hey, I’m an 18-year-old football player. Running back, can I have a training program? They pay me $100 and I hired a trainer to help me create programs. His name is Craig Valentine. And he’s pretty well-known in personal development and fitness now and started [00:12:50] ______. Craig was my first guy I hired back in the late ’90s. Then I started selling sports training equipment like medicine balls and bands, and it just really grew from there. That was the beginning of it. I started to become more of a marketer as I started to look at my library of books. It was all fitness and strength and conditioning in NSCA. I was a CSCS and had my ACSM certification. And then, slowly, 10% of my book started to become business, 20%. And then, eventually, it was more business than fitness books. And then, I started teaching. Other trainers like you would say, “Hey, Ryan, if you could do this stuff and sell these programs online and eBooks and training, could you help me?” I said, “Sure. Why not?” And that was where it really began in the early 2000s.

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, it is interesting to hear about this because I think I was kind of sort of joking when I talk about calf implants and Instagram. But it really is true that it is much easier nowadays to simply slap up a channel and start putting photos and videos of you working out. And people a lot of times, they’ll follow you based on your body or the size of your implants. But there’s almost like this lack of folks who are still putting in the hard, hard work. Another guy who’s getting a lot of publicity right now is Bret Contreras with his Glute Lab and his new glute book. He’s a perfect example of kind of an OG in the fitness industry who’s run gyms and trained people’s glutes for years and years before there were websites and Instagram.

It’s those kind of people that I think that if you’re listening in and you’re trying to assess whether or not someone’s actually real or legit, look into their history, look into how many hundreds of people they’ve helped boots on the ground in a brick and mortar type of scenario actually watching people move and working with them one on one versus how things have become largely these days where you can go straight from a weekend personal training certification into an Instagram channel into coaching people or having people buy your product with very, very little experience.

Ryan:  Zero, less than little experience. And you’re right. I mean, I cut my teeth training clients, training athletes. I did an internship at Yale University and I worked with their strength conditioning program. I mean, I was in there. I was doing cleans and jerks with them. I even did a research study when I worked at the hospital and I have a published thing about Osgood-Schlatter like we did a whole scientific thing with–oh, god, it’s crazy, the amount of training I did with clients. But you’re right, now someone could go look pretty fit, be good looking man or woman and all of a sudden people are paying them money for their programs. It’s just generic cookie-cutter stuff.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It’s a blessing and a curse though. I mean, at the same time, we don’t have to use cartoons anymore to tell people which exercises to do.

Ryan:  Nothing wrong with that exercise cartoons [00:15:52] ______.

Ben:  There’s a little more bandwidth than that.

Ryan:  Right, right. And there’s absolutely some really good stuff and it’s–they’re really good fitness professionals and strength and conditioning coaches who know their stuff can now demonstrate it as well. So, there’s obviously good and bad with both. And people just have to be a little bit more discerning who they choose to listen to.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Now, in my estimation, I guess it was–I don’t know, maybe five or six years ago, I could be wrong, but it seems like you went from putting on a lot of these conferences, training a lot of trainers in the fitness industry, putting out a lot of your books, a lot of your marketing materials, et cetera, and you seem to fall off the map to a certain extent. It was almost like Ryan Lee disappeared. Can you describe exactly what happened to you?

Ryan:  It was actually more like nine years ago. Things really started to change. I started a supplement company and I brought on a couple of partners, and we were the backend for a lot of the big online fitness guys. The company was called Prograde Nutrition. Basically, every big trainer was selling our stuff and things were going really, really well. It kind of took a little bit more behind the scenes approach of that. I got out of just strictly working with fitness pros and I started focusing more on just anyone who wants to learn entrepreneurship. So, I got out of specific fitness industry events, started teaching. Little more general entrepreneurship got behind the scenes with the nutrition company. And my wife and I, at that time, we had just had our fourth child, but then things within–I’m telling you, Ben, it’s amazing how your life can change within like six–within a few months, our top promoter–basically, Prograde, the way it was run, we were an affiliate company. We only did well when affiliates promoted.

Ben:  That was the Prograde Nutrition?

Ryan:  Yeah, exactly. So, one of our top affiliates left and started his own company. Okay, cool. What wasn’t cool was that all the other top affiliates were friends with this guy and left. So, we had just done a multimillion-dollar blanket order for some ingredients that we now owed and our revenue kind of went off a cliff, almost overnight. It was pretty shocking. Right around that time, my mom, and she was only 63 at the time, was diagnosed with cancer and within three months have passed away. And then, I launched a print magazine. That failed after one issue because–I’m like, “Oh, recurring revenue, right, you could charge monthly.” And I didn’t realize the print, you have to put out issues like three months in advance. And I just spent almost $100,000 doing an infomercial. The day I filmed it, I had a double sinus infection, couldn’t speak, and we just–tough luck. So, we couldn’t air. So, it was like–I thought like I was in a–

Ben:  So, you had basically like a ton of stress building up all at once.

Ryan:  All at once within months, the fourth child, my mom passing away, the financial stress, all of this hit me and I started eating more, not exercising as well and everything just kind of came to this head where over the course of years, I started getting more joint pain. I was just kind of disappearing from everything. I was just tired of everything and my joints started hurting really badly to the point when I woke up one morning, I could barely walk. And I’m like, “There’s something serious going on.” Like I was limping, I could not walk. Like most people, if they have something going on with their body, I went to my MD. He didn’t know what it was. I went to every doctor you could imagine. When my feet hurt, I went to a podiatrist. I went to a physical therapist. I went to two different chiropractors.

Finally, I went to a rheumatologist and he looked at me, he saw my toes were swollen, my hands were swollen, was asking me my health history and in about two minutes looked at me and said, “You have an autoimmune. You have psoriatic arthritis.” I’m like, “What?” And he said, “Yup. That’s what you got.” I said, “Well, all right. And I have the signs. Well, I know that’s inflammation, so what are we going to do? Let’s reduce inflammation.” He goes, “No. We got to put you on a methotrexate.” I’m like, “Wait, what? Methotrexate.” He’s like, “Well, yeah. It’s chemo. So, just make sure you’re not around anyone who gets sick.” I said, “Doc, I have four kids.”

Ben:  They wanted to give you a chemo drug for autoimmune?

Ryan:  Yeah.

Ben:  Is that common?

Ryan:  I have no idea. I didn’t stick around to find out because I said, “Well, it doesn’t sound right.” He’s like, “Well, you have all these things.” I don’t even remember what he was saying, something about, “Well, your white blood cells are this and you have all this going on. So, what we basically have to do is, we don’t know what’s causing it, so we just have to kind of kill everything and then rebuild you back up.” He said, “So, you have to come in like every week or two. We’ll do blood tests.” And I said, “Well, isn’t this dangerous?” He said, “Well, yeah. There are some side effects and it could lead to this and potential cancer.” I’m like, “What?” I said, “But isn’t something –” I said, “The autoimmune, it’s a symptom. There’s something causing it. There’s a cause and effect, like there is something causing this inflammation.” I said, “If I clean up my diet, try to reduce my stress, maybe change [00:21:07] _____, can’t that help?” He goes, “No.” I said, “What?” He said, “We don’t know what causes it.” I said, “Well, I got to try before I get on drugs.” He’s like, “Alright. Well, give it a try and then come back and we’ll put you on the meds.” And that was, I don’t know, five, six years ago, and I never went back in and I never went on the medication.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And by the way, I don’t want to gloss over this idea of stress because–I mean, if you now go to PubMed and you do some research on autoimmune disease, there is a direct research linked association, a research-based association between basically the neuroendocrine response to stress, all these hormones that get released in response to some kind of lifestyle incident, whether it’d be a loved one dying or the type of business issues that you went through, or just a whole bunch of bullets from the matrix getting thrown at you at once. And that can lead to a lot of issues that you can find in the literature on a huge release of cytokine production, a big dump of inflammation, hypersensitivity to foods, this thing called cell danger response that Neil Nathan talks about in a really good book, “Toxic.” I mean, you can go from being fine to having some significant–typically, it’s like leaky gut issues or some type of gut dysregulation or autoimmune disease that manifests directly in response to the neuroendocrine issues that result from excess stress.

Ryan:  Yeah. And I had more stress than I’ve ever had in my life. I have zero doubt that was a major cause, a huge part of it. So, it was pretty scary though. And basically, looking it up and him saying, “Well, then you’re –” I loved running and sprinting and playing tennis. And he basically said I have to get on drugs and I’m probably not going to be able to do that stuff anymore. And now fast forward all these years later, I’m down 35 pounds. I’m the same weight and pant size I was in high school. I’m not going to say I’m 100% pain-free, but I’m probably 95% pain-free. There are some times, maybe if the weather, if there’s a thunderstorm I feel at my joints or if I feel extra stressed or the diet is not pretty clean, I’ll feel it in my joints, usually in my hands, but mostly, I’ve never felt better.

Ben:  Yeah. I do remember, I guess it was probably like 2013, 2014, something like that, I got an email from you. It was not written directly to me. I think it was to your entire audience about how you weren’t going to be sending as many emails because you literally couldn’t type, like you couldn’t move your fingers to type on the keyboard.

Ryan:  Yeah, it was, it was that bad. And I knew I still have a little self-test that I do to know if my joints are in pain or not because it was so bad where I couldn’t snap my fingers. It was so painful. I couldn’t rub my fingers together [00:24:18] ______ and even now you could hear me. Oh, yeah. That’s what I know. I could snap my fingers. I’m good.

Ben:  You’re snapping, baby.

Ryan:  Oh, baby. Yeah. I couldn’t type.

Ben:  So, this doc wanted to put you on chemo. You said no. You walked out. What’d you do? How did you go from being where you’re at now to how debilitated you were in that office? The first thing I did was say, “Okay. Who do I know? Who do I know in kind of the health space and natural space?” The first person I called was my buddy Brian Kurtz, who at that time was running Boardroom and they had a really popular health newsletter. And he had connections to every doctor you could imagine in naturopaths. And I said, “Brian, who’s the best naturopath in the area?”

So, Brian connected me with this great naturopath and then we did some tests to see what foods I was most sensitive to. And the ones that came back from me, the biggie was dairy, and then gluten was the other one, and the cane sugar was the third one. So, the first thing I did was, “Okay. Let me go on like elimination diet,” and not just reduced, I eliminated everything, all dairy, all gluten, all sugar from my diet. And almost within like two days, I felt better. Not 100% better, but I was able to actually start walking. And I stuck with that, and I started to lose weight for probably about a month or two strictly, and it just was really, really hard. I mean, that’s all I can say. It was really hard to have zero dairy, zero gluten, zero sugar with the kids, with birthday parties, with pizza night, with going–it became harder.

And the naturopath said, “It’s okay. You could start to slowly add in some of these things, add in a little bit of gluten once in a while, so sugar, see how you feel.” And I slowly started to add it in and I was feeling okay, and then you know what happens. Over time, you start adding in more, you start adding in more, and start getting worse on the diet. Stress level maintained. We’re still going through some ups and downs. But eventually, I slowly started gaining the weight back, started getting a little bit more pain until about two and a half years ago, we went on vacation, my wife and I with our kids, came back. I couldn’t put my pants back. I remember trying to put my jeans back on and I said to my wife, “Did you wash them?” She’s like, “What are you talking about? I didn’t wash your pants. We’re on vacation.”

And I went to the doctor. I was sick, I didn’t feel well, and he said I have high blood pressure. That scared me more than my autoimmune, the high blood pressure. Oh my god, am I going to have a heart attack? At that time, I was like 45. That was it. You have your kind of–even though [00:27:12] _____, I had my coming to Jesus moment and I was close–I’m only 5’8″. I was close to 200 pounds. And I said, “I got to figure this out.” And I looked back at what worked for me, what didn’t work for me, why I fell off my diet, how I started to introduce stress back into my life. And I went on like a simplification. Just deep dive. And I said, “The first thing I want to do is let me focus on my morning routine.”

Not that I was eating a lot of donuts and crap. I didn’t have anything consistent. So, I said, “Let me have something in the morning that I know is going to be healthy, that doesn’t have the inflammatory stuff.” And I started having bars. And I tried every bar you could imagine. Your bar wasn’t out then, I don’t think, Ben.

Ben:  No. My bar has only been on for like two years.

Ryan:  Yeah, exactly. It was before your bar. Otherwise, I would have tried your bar.

Ben:  Of course. Yeah, I couldn’t find–Ben Greenfield, come on. So, I tried different bars. And even though I couldn’t find one that I truly loved, at least just having that and having a smaller amount of calories and trying to find things that didn’t cause inflammation in the morning, having water, taking supplements, having every day for lunch having a really good salad–you want to hear my special salad, Ben?

Ryan:  Let’s hear your salad. Alright, my listeners love salad recipes. They love smoothie recipes, so [00:28:35] _____.

Ryan:  Okay. Now, everyone, I’d tell my salad recipe today. Some people are like, “Oh, my god, that sounds great.” Most people start dry heaving. This is it. I’ll take greens. Now, what I found that the greens that I love, a combination, I’ll do half of it is spinach, like baby spinach, the other half is arugula. So, you get that nice mix of two. I love arugula, the little, the [00:28:56] ______ flavor. And then, a can of sardines with packed olive oil. So, I use the olive oil as like the dressing, and I throw in the sardines, and I chop it all up. There you go. That’s my salad.

Ben:  Hey, I want to interrupt today’s show to give you some free bacon. Who doesn’t want free bacon? Well, here’s the deal. Not only do you get free bacon, but you get free bacon from heritage breed pork. And if you’ve never had bacon from heritage breed pork, which is old world pork before they brought out all the fat and the flavor to make it the other white meat, then you’ve never had bacon the way that bacon was meant to be consumed. And not only does the company I’m about to tell you about have bacon, they’ve got free-range organic chicken, they’ve got wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, grass-fed, grass-finished beef, the works.

They deliver 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, wild Alaskan salmon, all directly to your door, high-quality, humanely raised meat that tastes absolutely amazing. They’re called the ButcherBox. So, they put together a box, they curate the box for you, you pick and choose what you want in that box. Every box comes with 9 to 11 pounds of meat, which is a pretty decent amount of meat, especially considering it tastes absolutely fantastic. So, these boxes, the way that they work for any of my listeners, are going to include two pounds of their ground beef and two packs of bacon that they’re just going to throw into your first box for free, and they’re going to give you $20 off that first box. Very simple. You go to butcherbox.com/ben or just go to ButcherBox and enter the code BEN at checkout, butcherbox.com/ben. That’ll get you two pounds of ground beef, two packs of bacon for free, plus $20 off your first box. This meat tastes amazing. So, don’t miss out on that. Really good offer, butcherbox.com/ben.

This podcast is also brought to you by UNTUCKit. I recently got my first few UNTUCKit shirts because they wanted to support the podcast, but I hadn’t worn them yet, so I had them send me some. So, this is the original button-down shirt that was designed to be worn untucked. They sent me a short sleeve one and a long sleeve one and they compared to–so you know how when you can untuck your shirt, especially guys, they look horrible. They look like a tent. They’re not meant to be worn that way. So, UNTUCKit shirts are actually designed to be worn untucked. So, you look casual and sharp in the shirts. You could tuck them in but you, in my opinion, don’t need to. I think they look absolutely amazing. They’ve got wrinkle-free button-down, super slough flannel shirts, they got outerwear.

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I dig it. Now, of course, for people who have autoimmune, because I know we’re going to get this question, who are concerned about the oxalates in spinach because that can be like a high oxalate food. Another really good substitute that’s very low oxalate for a leafy green is actually bok choy. You could do that same thing and use bok choy if you’re actually concerned about oxalates or joint issues related to that.

Ryan:  Yeah. And whatever greens are going to work for you, great. I’ve found for me, it’s been fine. And I have had bok choy as well and I’ve had some combination with different bok choy and spinach and kale. I’ve tried everything. But it’s usually greens with sardines and using the olive oil, and I chop it off. That’s like my go-to lunch. And then, for dinner, just trying to eat really good, clean healthy foods as much as I can. And what I did was, because I remember last time I fell off because it was too strict, and I get it, and I totally get it, Ben. I know some people are like, “Look, you can never have XYZ. You should never have pie or cookies or pizza.” I totally understand it. For me, it didn’t work so I’m–even Rewind, my company, it’s kind of like a fun ’80s theme.

So, I have my ’80s methodology where I try to eat really good clean foods 80% of the time, and 20%, I’ll have some fun, especially if we know we’re going out tonight and there’s going to be a birthday party and my kids–Okay. I’ll eat really clean today. I’ll have a little piece of cake tonight. And I know some people again are really strict and they’ll never deviate at all, no added sugar, no gluten, no dairy. And if you have dietary concerns or allergies, I totally get it. I’m just saying for me, that’s worked and I’ve been able to now maintain this for over two and a half years, no issues, no setbacks, just eating clean 80% of the time.

Ben:  You never get any flare-ups or anything like that anymore?

Ryan:  The only time I get a flare-up is when I deviate from the 80/20, and I’m like 20/80. So, if I have a tough day or I’ll have let’s say two slices of pizza, then I–it’s so funny because I do feel it the next day. And I’m always tweaking, and I’m always trying different foods to see what works and see what doesn’t. And even as we’re recording this the past week, or let’s say past two weeks, I said, “Let me try to reduce or eliminate meat. Let me see how I feel going more of it like pescatarian.”

Ben:  You eliminate meat. Okay. I want to hear out because that’s counterintuitive, because a lot of people now, they’re like, “Carnivore diet’s one of the best things for autoimmune disease because you eliminate all these protein triggers from plant-based foods.”

Ryan:  I know, I know. I’ve been trying it. Last week, I went 10 days in a row, no meat. I did have seafood. So, I had fish. But no red meat, no turkey, no chicken. And I was feeling like the best that I’ve felt really in a long time, even though I’ve been feeling good, like I felt even better. A couple days ago, I took one of my kids out after a tennis tournament and we went to–where did we go? Chipotle. I said, “You know what, I’m going to have this and I’m going to have chicken. I’m going to try it.” And I had chicken. The next day, my fingers were swollen.

Ben:  Yeah. Big part of it too can be the meat, right? Like if it’s like a grain or corn-fed chicken or omega-6 laden meat versus like grass-fed, grass-finished beef or pasture-raised chicken, I think a big part of it can come down to that as well. But basically, the way you went was almost like ultra-simple. That was actually the name of Mark Hyman’s book back in the day, like one of the first autoimmune books was “The UltraSimple Diet,” where it was just basically eliminating everything that you eliminated, and that’s the key for a lot of people who have these kinds of autoimmune flare-ups that are related to stress. Now, a question for you, because if you’re back east. Are you in Connecticut or New York now?

Ryan:  Connecticut.

Ben:  Okay. Did you ever look into like Lyme or mold, mycotoxin, anything like that?

Ryan:  Yeah, yeah. Well, when they ran the test for the autoimmune, they did test for Lyme. And I didn’t. It came back negative for Lyme.

Ben:  Okay. Gotcha. What about like heavy metal toxicity? That’s another thing that tends to flare up for a lot of people.

Ryan:  I don’t recall any–of all the blood tests, because I got a lot of blood work, nothing. The only thing that came up was that inflammatory marker, and I forget the–I can’t remember the exact —

Ben:  Yeah. CRP?

Ryan:  CRP, yes, exactly. That was the only thing that came out high yet. Everything they tested for, even the naturopath with heavy metals, nothing came back elevated in that.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Did you wind up incorporating lifestyle practices to control stress? Like, did you take up a meditation practice or yoga or anything like that?

Ryan:  Okay. So, for stress and even exercise, I went–again, simplicity binge. So, we talked about nutrition. For stress, the first thing I did was, “Okay. What’s causing a lot of stress in my life? What’s causing a lot of stress in my business? Even with my relationships, or not even see my kids a lot.” I was traveling a lot. Back when I was teaching business, I was traveling and speaking, not a lot compared to some people, but maybe once a month, and it adds up. That day, I said–and I told my wife, I’m done. Like I am not traveling. I’m not going any events.

And that’s why, you even said, it seemed like I disappeared about five, six years ago. That was the thing. I said, “I’m done.” For six years, I didn’t attend one event. And I always get asked to speak at events. Not always, but I get asked pretty frequently and I say no to everything. And I just did not travel for five or six years. So, that was one thing. The other thing I did was close down or sell whatever businesses I could that were distracting me. I was opening up too many things, doing too many things at once, and I just focused on one business, one company. We just focused everything we could on the nutrition companies to pay off all the debt and let’s just close it. Let’s just move on.

So, simplifying my business, getting rid of travel, and just recommitting to my family and, even though they always came first, really being true to my words and making them first and everything and making sure I coach every sport I possibly can, I still do, never missing an event, never missing a sports event, just being there all the time and doing everything I can to build my business, 100% virtual and be home with them.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. That’s such a big one to travel because for me, the way my life is right now is it’s almost like a cycle. I travel, because I still travel pretty extensively to speak, to attend conferences, to race, to do all these things that I do. And everything from the Wi-Fi, and the solar radiation, and x-ray radiation, all the airports that you travel through, and the subpar food and the hotels and the places you stay that might have mold or mycotoxins or whatever, I’m traveling, I’m doing a bunch of damage to my body even though I try to travel as healthy as possible. And then, I basically come home and reboot my body, and I’m here in a freaking float tank, in the sauna, doing all these electrical treatments in my basement and kind of like fixing everything. I feel amazing. I feel like a million bucks and then I wave goodbye to the family and go travel again, and then come back kind of sort of effed up.

It’s a tough cycle. I do, honestly, I question sometimes. I’m like, “Should I just sit at home and write books?” Because that thought has crossed my mind before. I sometimes feel as though I would be doing the world a disservice. It’s like–what’s that book? I think it’s “Principle.” Is it “Principle,” the one by Ray Dalio? I forget the new–I think it’s Principle.

Ryan:  Oh, “Principles.”

Ben:  Yeah, “Principles.” He talks about how you– have to decide where you’re going to draw the line between like the maximum amount of impact you can make in the world. And I feel like a lot of times for me, travel is where I make the most impact in the world. But man, it’s also just most damaging to your body from a stress standpoint. And yeah, you spend a lot of time cleaning up the mess, huh?

Ryan:  Yeah. Oh, yeah. The minute I stopped, I mean, it was like this weight was lifted off my shoulders. Because even at that time, my one is 14 now, she will cry like crazy when I said I was going away for a day. And even now, I’ll travel maybe once or twice a year. And even now, you’re right, I feel it. Like, I’ll be on the airplane for five hours, and I think, “How do people do this all the time?” I just physically mentally feel beat up. But the other thing before I forget in terms of stress, the other part you asked me, the physical stuff. I go to reflexology a lot. Saunas, cold showers. Just time to let my mind just be. And I used to do the Headspace app, the 10-minute meditation. Now. I’ll just sit quietly and just breathe, just do deep breathing.

The other thing I did was simplify my fitness because we come from a fitness background and there’s so many different workouts we know and programs, and you could do heavy lifting and slough and Olympic lifting and kettlebells and all this stuff. And I said, “What’s going to be for me the most efficient way to make sure I do something consistently, I get some cardiovascular health and some strength?” So, I just work out at home. We have a treadmill in our bedroom. I have a kettlebell, a couple of dumbbells, a pull-up bar, and I do–my workout takes 20, maybe 25 minutes max, where I’ll crank it on the highest incline on our treadmill about 10% or 12%. And I walk. I walk at about 4.2 miles an hour. I do that for 200 meters. See, I’m a track guy. So, I think in terms of meters, which takes about–at that pace, it takes about two minutes.

Ben:  Yeah, 4.2 if I recall, you’re only about 5 feet tall, right, Ryan? So, that’s pretty fast.

Ryan:  Shut your mouth. So, yeah, it’s very fast. I’m sprinting. So, it’s about two minutes, jump off the treadmill. And I’ll do usually a set of 8 to 10 pull-ups, 15 push-ups, 20 different things of core exercise, go back on the treadmill for another two minutes, jump back off, do maybe 20 kettlebell swings, come back on for two minutes. And I do that until I complete a mile. So, that takes about 16 minutes on the treadmill and probably five minutes of transitioning and strength exercise. But in like 20 minutes, 22 minutes, I know I’m going to be done, and I break a sweat and I feel good. And I’ve been doing that pretty consistently for now two and a half years, and I do it at least five days a week.

Ben:  Now, what about the–you mentioned briefly reflexology. For people who aren’t familiar with that, what is that and how does it work?

Ryan:  So, with that, that’s just really strong. They work with like the chakras with your feet, the nerves, the nerve-endings on your feet. So, it’s for me, it’s just an hour of absolute relaxation. It helps also with the Eastern medicine they talk about, this thing with the lymph node, and this part has your kidneys. I don’t know how much of that works or not, but I do know that when I go two or three times a week, it feels incredible and I feel great, and I feel like it does help with circulation and reducing pain. So, it’s just for me, I find that there are a couple places that do it. It’s an hour, they start off usually like a neck massage, and then they’ll do the feet for 45, 50 minutes.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And there’s something to that idea of energy fields and in being able to kind of like free up energy to travel through specific areas of the body when you do that type of deep tissue therapy on specific areas. Some people call it Qi in traditional Chinese medicine, but basically, it’s kind of like opening up energy fields. And I think there’s something to it, this idea, I think the feet would be considered to be the first chakra in Eastern medicine. And many people will feel really good. I even do this with my kids at night, like I have really good essential oils. I always rub essential oil into their feet at night.

And even from just a parenting standpoint, it actually really is kind of cool because it’s almost like this little massage that you can give your child. It makes them feel really good for a while. We did it with oil, oregano, and then used fish oil. And now, I actually have this oil. It’s called first chakra. It’s called root oil. And I’ll put that on my feet at night and rub it into my kids’ feet, and you just feel really good. It’s like this grounding oil. But I really think there is something to the idea of reflexology. There’s another book, and I was actually trying to teach myself some of this stuff. A lot of times, it’s on airplanes when I’ll mess around with this stuff like, whether it’s hand grippers or breath devices or these books that teach you how to do self-inflicted acupressure, because I’m like a captive audience. I love to figure out things I can do on sitting around.

And there’s this book about Marma points, which are basically like these acupressure points all throughout the body. And I bought this book. I’ll look at my bookshelf, and for people listening in, I’ll put a link to it in the shownotes. But it basically walks you through all these different Marma points and exactly how you can target them and where you need to press. It actually really is cool. You can get rid of nausea, you can get rid of headaches, you can induce like immediate stress relief just by putting pressure even if it’s just you putting pressure and not a therapist on specific areas of your body. So, that one’s called “Marma Therapy,” but it’s very similar to reflexology.

Ryan:  Yeah. There’s a lot of stuff we still don’t know that we could take from people who’ve been doing these things for thousands a year. Another thing I do just–because I’m on the laptop a lot. We all tend to lean forward a little bit and get the neck pain at night. You could start with a tennis ball and just laying on the tennis ball and putting it under your neck and under your–like the occipital party or your occipital bone there and just having the gravity of your head lay down on the tennis ball. It feels really, really good just rolling it around. And if you get brave enough, which I’ve moved up to now a lacrosse ball. I’ll do this with my kids and they kind of scream in pain. So, I get a sick pleasure at it. I go back to the tennis ball with them, but it feels really good. So, a lot of these things, doing more joint mobility, just feeling–now that I’m 47, just trying to do things that help me move more and more range of motion, more suppleness as opposed to trying to do bench press, which I don’t do anymore.

Ben:  Speaking of the occipital bone and that kind of like using a lacrosse ball or a tennis ball, I actually have one of those–have you ever seen those peanut base rollers that are–they’re almost like two lacrosse balls kind of taped together?

Ryan:  Yup, yup.

Ben:  Yeah. So, you can get those. For example, on Amazon, you can give little spikes on them, and you can roll those up and down the vertebra, and if you roll all the way up to your neck and just trap it right underneath your neck and then start to turn your head to the left and the right. I do that when I wake up in the morning and it literally sounds like firecrackers going off. When I hit that thing in the morning, it just pop, pop, pop all the way at the back. And then, when you get to your head, I don’t know if it’s increasing cerebral spinal fluid to the brain or just the tension relief but it is one of the best feelings in the world when you use one of these spiky balls up and down the back as far as relaxation or just waking yourself up in the morning.

Ryan:  I got to try that. I don’t have the spiky, but what I did was I jury rigged one where I put two lacrosse balls in a sock. So, I got the two tennis balls, or the two lacrosse balls kind of next to each other in a sock and then I would just roll on that. So, I’d have the two-ball effect, but I didn’t have the spiky one.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I’ll hunt it down and I’ll find it on Amazon. I forget what the manufacture of the one I use —

Ryan:  Shownotes, baby, shownotes.

Ben:  I’ll put it there in the shownotes for you guys. So, any other big wins that you’re incorporating from either a lifestyle, or a recovery, or a sleep, or a fitness standpoint that you found to be big wins for you?

Ryan:  Well, obviously, you just said a key one there, is sleep, sleep recovery. I mean, I’ve always been pretty good with it. I’ve always been pretty good with sleep. But one thing I’m finding a little disturbing on a larger scale is everyone, especially in the entrepreneurial world or you see it online all the time, it’s the methodology of you’ve got hustle, hustle, grind, grind non-stop 24/7. And it’s really dangerous.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ryan:  You look at some of the people talking about this. And these are guys that I’m older than and they look now–they’ve aged 10 years in the past five years. They look 20 years older than me now. They don’t look healthy. I think it’s like adrenal fatigue. I just think it’s a really dangerous thing trying to think that, hey, if I just work harder, I’m going to succeed. You’ve got to recover. You’ve got to give your body, your mind, your spirit, whatever. You’ve got to recover.

Ben:  Yeah. I don’t think that some of these cats like Jocko Willink putting the photo of him getting up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to hit the gym, or David Goggins, or the rock who will drop into a gym at 1:00 a.m. when he gets the–wherever he’s flying in the world. Those guys can be inspiring for people who need to just get their ass off the couch and do the hard thing, or kids who are growing up with a silver spoon mentality, who never have learned how to get up at 5:00 a.m. for a paper route or maybe crush the gym for a little while before school. But for the lion’s share of people, I think a lot of that mentality does the more of a disservice than a service because people short themselves on sleep. They think that the only way to get there is to crush the gym at 4:00 a.m.

And I mean, in many cases, that leads to or contributes to, kind of a slippery slope towards what you wound up experiencing six years ago when your body just–your neuroendocrine system just shifted into amping up cytokine production. It’s almost like the body will eventually put brakes on you, whether it’s autoimmune disease or cancer or Lyme or anything else that you just become susceptible to because your body hits the brakes.

Ryan:  Yeah. Your body knows. Your body needs the rest and recovery. So, I know what you’re saying though. People do need sometimes like–I think we’ve gone so far on the other end of the spectrum where we just overcuddle the kids. “Everything’s going to be okay, little Benny. Everything’s going to be fine. Don’t work hard.” We teach our kids hard work, but you need sleep and rest and recovery. That’s been a big part of my health journey is really doing that. And not feeling guilty, too, like not feeling guilty about shutting your computer off. And for everyone, everyone’s got their downtime stuff where you want to recharge your batteries. Some people like going for a hike, and you love probably doing your triathlon training, and biking, and running, and swimming, whatever crazy stuff you do, for the people who don’t do that stuff.

For me, I like at night after I put my kids to bed, sometimes I’ll read and I’ll read a fiction book like a political thriller. I’ll watch some Netflix and not feeling guilty about that. I think if you put in a good day’s work and you’re really super productive and you focus on the big stuff, you can rest your head knowing, “Okay. I gave it a really good effort today. Now let me have a half an hour, an hour of just unplugging. Shut your phone off.” I don’t even have my phone in my room. When I come home, my phone goes off. Even my kids don’t have phones. The only one who has a phone is my one who’s a junior in high school. All my three other kids don’t have any phones. We’re not a big screen family.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. See, we have screens. My kids have an iTouch that they use because they have a little podcast and business down. They use the voice app and they record and the photos and the videos to upload. But what we do is I switch everybody’s phones, even my wife’s, and I taught them how to. If you google this, it’s called the iPhone red light trick. And you can program the phone where if you press the home button three times, it sucks all the blue light out of the phone. It makes Instagram and everything else suck because it’s all boring and your phone does not keep you up. It’s also not that much fun to use and it’s way better than the built-in night shift mode. So, we all just switch our phones to that at night and they’re kind of like these boring devices that don’t make any light and don’t have a lot of colors on them. For me, that means if I need to check something before I go to bed, it’s not going to suppress melatonin production at all.

Ryan:  Oh, I never heard of that.

Ben:  Yeah. It works really well. If you google, it’s red phone or iPhone red light trick.

Ryan:  Okay.

Ben:  It works really well. Whenever I’m hanging out at a friend’s house or I’m out at dinner and people look at my phone, they’re like, “How the hell did you do that?” Because it’s way different than night shift but it just–it works at night. And plus, you don’t have to put on those horrific looking red color, blue light blocking glasses when you’re out at a restaurant or whatever.

Ryan:  Yeah. Another thing that works well for the electronics and stuff in our house, old school, we have a safe in our bedroom closet, and all the kids’ electronics all go in the safe, because they do have an iPad and stuff but–

Ben:  What do your kids think about that? Do they dig it or is it kind of a chore form?

Ryan:  Well, my two youngest are fine with it. My 14-year-old is like, “Wait, why can’t I have a phone?” We’re like, “No. You’re not having one.” So, we definitely bump up against a little bit of resistance, but we’re the parents.

Ben:  I have a different parenting philosophy. I actually let my kids spend as much time as they want on their phones, like there’s not a rule they’d be taken away. But, basically, mom and I want about nine 9:00, 9:30 rules around, like we’re pretty much–we’re nose down in books or playing musical instruments. So, our kids, like all they’ve grown up with is at night time, there isn’t really phone time or screen time, not because you’re not allowed to, but because we’re basically breaking out all these other activities. Actually, board games are third. So, usually, it’s books, music or board games. And so, if you come to the Greenfield house, like after 9:00, pretty much everybody’s either curled up in bed with a book, sitting on the couch playing a guitar, or we’re gathered around the dinner table playing a board game. So, for our kids, we just try to present them with alternatives that make the screen less attractive at night.

Ryan:  Yeah. That’s great. Like everything in life, if you find something that works for you and for your family, that’s great.

Ben:  So, you mentioned, I know you’re back in the fitness industry now, you’re doing some things, it doesn’t sound like you’re getting around and speaking and traveling as much, but you’ve got–are you pretty much now just doing this bar company?

Ryan:  Yeah, yeah. Right now, that’s my entire focus is just vegan gluten-free energy bars. It’s 95% of my focus. I still write a daily-ish email about business or leadership or things like that. But it’s pretty much right now my nutrition company. And that’s, again, going back to that philosophy of simple, like what’s the one thing I need to focus on? But as you know, Ben, it could be a challenge because if you’re an entrepreneur, I mean, how many ideas come to us? It’s all day, it’s nonstop, and sometimes it’s hard to turn off and there’s other things that look attractive and you’re like, “Oh, man, I could just try this so I could do this. I could do this product.” It is a little bit of a challenge to resist.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. So, the bar, as far as that goes, you said it’s plant-based, gluten-free, anything else special that kind of makes the bar stand out aside from the old school ’80s nostalgia and the name Rewind?

Ryan:  The thing we’re really most proud of is–well, we do a couple things. So, we call them sneaky greens. So, we add kale and spinach into the bars. And we have some fruits for antioxidant power, strawberries, and blueberries. But the big thing is we just focus on the flavor. Going back to flavors that people grew up with that really love that thing because it’s got–you know how it is, even with your bars, like they got to taste good. You could have the healthiest bar in the world, but if people don’t like the way they taste, they’re not going to eat them. So, our newest flavor is cinnamon coffee cake. There’s no artificial flavors or sweeteners and it tastes really good

Ben:  Yeah. Well, I dig that idea of flavor, but then I think some companies will go the opposite route, and I want to throw these folks under the bus because–Tom and Ron who run this company, they’re friends of mine, but like Quest. If you eat a Quest Bar, they’ve nailed flavors, like birthday cake flavor and–I forget what else, kind of like Bang Energy Drinks. They got the Margarita flavor. But at the same time when you see how that flavors achieve, there’s a little bit of chemical action going on there. I’m not a fan of like some–basically, if it tastes like birthday cake, it’s tough to get that flavor without bastardizing the product just a little bit as far as the artificial sweeteners and all that jazz go. But yeah, some of these other flavors, I know you guys have like an almond butter and jelly. You mentioned the cinnamon coffee cake, like some of this stuff that’s more nuts, cinnamon, coffee, you can actually nail a pretty good ingredient profile and a good flavor profile with that type of combo.

Ryan:  Oh, absolutely. And the other one is coconut chocolate chip. And we have a mint chocolate coming. Yeah. We’re not going to totally jump the shark and go birthday cake because you’re right, it’s really hard to do that. But we’re still, no matter what we do, we’re never going to have anything artificial and use things like sucralose. We’re always going to try to have a clean bar, and with yours as well. It’s just not easy to do. I just want to put something good out there that tastes good that people like, and I know that people are going to have different bars, they’re going to have different products. They’ll have yours, they’ll try mine one day, and maybe they’ll try a Quest Bar, they’ll do an RXBAR. Cool. And if you like ours, great. If you want to have it as part of your day, great. And if you find something else that’s good for you, that’s great too.

Ben:  Yeah. And then, of course, the litmus test for the bar though is whether or not you make a bodybuilder, horrific, clear the elevator whey protein fart after you’ve had the bar. That’s for me [00:59:59] _____.

Ryan:  Yeah. We have no whey protein, we’re dairy-free. We’re vegan, so we obviously don’t have any dairy or eggs or even honey. But yeah, no whey protein in ours either. No. We don’t do it.

Ben:  Yeah. It is kind of funny because–yeah. Speaking of like traveling to fitness conferences and stuff, you go to some of these big health expos, especially the ones that are really, really focused on the hardcore fitness crowd, you walk around the expo and there are bars everywhere. And when they’re chock-full, the whey protein isolates, the sucralose, [01:00:30] ______ potassium. The two things that I find most notable, especially a lot of these bodybuilding type of conventions is, A, people look pretty good from afar, but then as soon as you get close, you can see like their skins all red and inflamed and there are acne and wrinkles. And a lot of this stuff is related to the oxidizing inflammatory effect of this packaged food that they’re eating. And then, B, it’s kind of like walking through the airport. There are horrific fart clouds everywhere, and I’m pretty sure it’s related to the ingredients of some of those stuff.

Ryan:  It’s definitely related to the ingredients, yeah. You know how it is, like the bodybuilders, they don’t really look healthy and they’re soft too, like they’ll be big, but they’re kind of soft, and they’re not athletic. But the way they eat is just–yeah, it’s not always the healthiest, right?

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, granted you can say the same thing about the other sport you recently brought up like triathlon, like I’d run in the same things a lot of times, Ironman Triathlon, but in that case, it’s kind of the opposite. It’s like the sugars, fructose, maltodextrin, they’re really heavy into the endurance or the sugars on that side and then the nasty proteins and calorie-free sweeteners on the other side. Yeah, the power bars. Well, congratulations on not making a bar that results in multiple fart clouds, Ryan. I’m proud of you.

Ryan:  On the packaging, we have fart cloud-free. That’s going to be our new tagline, no fart clouds, yeah, yeah. We don’t want it.

Ben:  Awesome.

Ryan:  Go get a whey bar.

Ben:  Have you blogged about your journey in recovery from autoimmune, written in your articles, contributed any books or anything like that, or do you have any other information out there where people can find out more about your journey?

Ryan:  It’s funny. I did an article about it. But even as we speak, depending when this goes live, I’m rewriting it and adding a lot more detail. So, I’m going to detail out my exact nutrition program, my exact fitness stuff. So, I’m writing one as we speak. So, if they go to tv.rewindbars.com, by the time this goes live, it’ll be up there and we’ll have links to it.

Ben:  Okay. Cool.

Ryan:  Yeah.

Ben:  Cool. Well, I’ll link to that for you guys in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee. Ryan’s got a discount code if you do want to try his bars, 20% off. Use code GREENFIELD. You can try out his bars. There is no birthday cake flavor. I’m sorry, but the cinnamon coffee cake does sound pretty good.

Ryan:  It is really [01:02:55] _____.

Ben:  Oh, yeah. Send them to me. I’m hopping on a plane to Dubai in about six days to go over there and speak at a few conferences. So, yeah, if you send them out, that’ll be my fuel on Emirates will be the–yeah. And then, everything else that we talked about, I’ll hunt down that beastie ball roller we talked about, some information on reflexology, some information for you guys on the scientific link between stress, particularly an autoimmune disease, which I think is one of the biggest lessons you can take from Ryan’s story is nip the stress in the bud before your body slows you down. I’ll link to all that stuff as well at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ryanlee.

And in the meantime, Ryan, a couple of things. A, thanks for–I don’t know if I ever said this to you before, but just thanks for everything that you did to light the path and lead the way in terms of teaching a lot of us in the fitness industry, how to take our information and scale it, and hopefully, make a lot more impact in the world. And B, thanks for sharing this story with us and for, hopefully, inspiring a few people and teaching a few people about how they can battle autoimmune through just like simplicity with diet, and simplicity with lifestyle, simplicity with travel, simplicity with fitness. I think it’s a really, it’s really smart approach.

Ryan:  Well, I appreciate it. And thanks for your kind words. I’m going to add a C onto the A, B, and C. Just thank you for doing what you’re doing and continuing to change lives and for having me on. That’s like C, D, and E. But this has been great. And yeah, if someone can take away from this interview that, hey, I could just like simplify stuff and reduce the overwhelm, then my job is done. So, thank you. Thanks for giving me and so many other people a platform here to do this, Ben.

Ben:  Awesome. Awesome, Ryan. Alright, folks. Well, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Ryan Lee signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.

 

 

Ryan Lee (my guest on this podcast) and I go way back.

The man is probably responsible for initiating and teaching me just about everything I know in the realm of online marketing and success in the fitness industry.

Over a decade ago, I began to delve into his teachings and websites, and it was through him that I learned how to create information products, e-books, virtual coaching and a host of other profit-generating and information-scaling tools I still utilize to this day.

Ryan himself is an exercise physiologist and the founder of Rewind bars. He’s also the author of The Millionaire WorkoutPassion to Profits, was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, and called “the world’s #1 lifestyle entrepreneur” by Entrepreneur.

Several years ago, Ryan was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder (psoriatic arthritis), and ignored the advice of his MD to go on chemo, while instead focused on coming up with a psoriatic arthritis diet plan, and simplifying his life, relationships, business, and more. We delve into that story on today’s show.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-Ryan’s journey from fledgling personal trainer to the “godfather” of the online fitness industry [09:15]

  • First job (1994): recreational therapist in a children’s rehab hospital; was a personal trainer during non-work hours
  • Internet marketing career began in 1998; writing articles and GIF’s on a website
  • Sold training programs to readers — Craig Valentine assisted
  • Began selling his knowledge to other health enthusiasts to grow their businesses (including Ben Greenfield)

-How the online fitness industry has changed since Ryan’s early days [13:40]

  • It’s much easier to establish an online presence today… and to claim to be a “fitness coach” with little to no real experience
  • Measure an individual by how many people they’ve helped in real life, not on vanity metrics on social media
  • Double-edged sword: “Real Dealers” can help many more people than the old days

-The personal struggle that caused Ryan to take a step back from his business [16:25]

  • Had started a supplement company – Pro Grade Nutrition (affiliate based company)
  • Top affiliate formed his company, and took his friends with him
  • Mother passed; print magazine failed
  • Began eating more; exercising less
  • Began having severe joint pain; no idea about the cause
  • Book: Toxic by Neil Nathan
  • Rheumatologist diagnosed an autoimmune disease (psoriatic arthritis); prescribed chemo as treatment
  • Excess stress directly contributes to leaky gut, autoimmune issues

-The steps from debilitating illness to a nearly complete recovery [24:35]

  • Sought out informed docs who could help; Brian Kurtz
  • Psoriatic Arthritis Diet: Naturopathic doctor recommended removing gluten, dairy and cane sugar
  • Elimination diet (see above); within 2 days, noticeable results
  • Began eating gluten, dairy, sugar slowly; stress levels were erratic; eventually was diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Simplification deep dive:
    • Focus on morning routine
    • Began eating bars (every bar on the planet)
  • Ryan’s special salad recipe:
  • Fell off the wagon because the psoriatic arthritis diet plan was too strict; eat clean and healthy at least 80% of the time
  • Short-term pescatarian diet was very efficacious
  • Book: Ultrasimple Diet by Mark Hyman
  • Tests for Lyme, mold, mycotoxins came back negative

-Lifestyle practices Ryan used to control stress [37:11]

  • Quit traveling to speak at conferences and events
  • Reduced business activities; focused on one company
  • Recommitting to family
  • Simplify fitness
  • Sit in silence w/ deep breathing
  • Book: Principles by Ray Dalio

-Reflexology 101 [41:23]

-Other big wins Ryan has discovered in his recovery[48:49]

  • Entrepreneurs pride themselves on the hustle and grind, much to their detriment
  • Recovery is essential; listen to your body
  • Teach kids hard work, but also rest and recovery
  • iPhone red light trick
  • Safe in the bedroom closet for electronics

-The extent to which Ryan is currently involved in the fitness industry [56:01]

  • Focused primarily on the energy bar company
  • “Sneaky greens”

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

– Click here to pre-order Ben Greenfield’s new book “Boundless” now and to get in on the Boundless Sweepstakes!

– Ryan’s REWIND bars (use 20% code GREENFIELD) 

– Ryan’s book The Millionaire Workout

– Ryan’s book Passion to Profits

– Stress as a trigger of autoimmune disease.

– Book: Toxic by Neil Nathan

– Book: The UltraSimple Diet: Kick-Start Your Metabolism and Safely Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 7 Day

– The Darker Side Of Hypermobility

– Reflexology

– Rumble Roller Beastie Ball

– Book: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

– Book: Marma Therapy by Ernst Schrott

Episode sponsors:

Kion Flex: The ultimate recovery formula, Kion Flex is a bioavailable blend to support joint comfort, mobility and flexibility, and bone health. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, receive a 10% discount off your entire order at Kion when you use discount code: BGF10.

Organifi Red Juice: Enjoy all the benefits of the 11 superfoods and their micronutrients that help increase resting metabolism, support cardiovascular health, and remove toxins to turn back the hands of time! Receive a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code: BENG20.

ButcherBox: Delivers healthy 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door on a monthly basis. All their products are humanely raised and NEVER given antibiotics or hormones. For 2 lbs of 100% grass-fed beef and 2 lbs of pure bacon for FREE, PLUS $20 off your first box enter promo code: BEN20 at checkout.

UNTUCKit: Whether you’re shopping for the perfect holiday gift or just trying to craft a smart, relaxed style of your own, UNTUCKit is the way to go. Receive 20% off your order when you use discount code: GREENFIELD.

 

But before I do, let me be clear about one thing. Although in the past year, I have tripled my testosterone levels (since finding out they were low in this podcast interview with Dr. Cohen)…

…I have never taken testosterone pills, patches, injections or creams – or ever gone near the stuff…

…I’ve also never blood doped, taken human growth hormone, used clenbuterol, or ever tried or gone near any of that stuff, or anything else that is an illegal performance enhancing drug…

So that being said, at the risk of giving all my competitors a stark advantage once they read this post, I’m going to now give away my exact performance enhancing drug use profile:

-Triglyceride based fish oil caps (like SuperEssentials) at 4-6 capsules per day, to increase levels of anti-inflammatory fatty acids. I like to also add in 1 tablespoon per day cod liver oil for extra Vitamin D & A. 

-4000-6000IU Vitamin D per day (stacked with this with fish oil), as a steroid and hormone precursor.

-4 Recoverease after easy workouts, and 6-8 after very difficult workouts (or races), for accelerating muscle repair. Capraflex is also a good alternative for this.

-250mg Natural Calm magnesium 30-60 minutes before bed, for enhancing sleep quality and testosterone.

-8-10 sprays Topical Magnesium sprayed on any area of body that is sore or stiff post-workout, and also sprayed on quads, calves and shoulders pre-race.

-5 Master Amino Pattern (MAP) before easy workouts and 10 before very difficult workouts (or races), to limit lean muscle damage.

-Adaptogenic herb for balancing testosterone:cortisol ratios and also for stress management (I personally do TianChi, taken on an empty stomach mid morning or mid afternoon).

-3-6 Caprobiotics and CapraColostrum per day for digestive health and immune system support (proper hormone production is intimately tied to gut health).

MillenniumSports Somnidren GH or Hammer REM caps for better sleep – either of these 30-60 minutes before bed (you make many of your hormones while you sleep).

-2-4 ProstElan per day for decreasing testosterone conversion to estrogens and enhancing sexual performance.

-I didn’t use this, but if you need to “jump start” the process with an herbal derivative, I recommend “Renew Male“.

In addition to the protocol above, I also sleep 8 hours a night, eat a diet that is very high in fat and low in processed or refined carbohydrate, and avoid excessive aerobic exercise.

There, I feel much better now after admitting my performance enhancing drug use.

What about you? Are you performing physically, mentally and sexually below your potential?

Not me. I’ve personally chosen better living through smart science.

I will now sit patiently and wait for the WTC, ITU, and any other governing triathlon body to disqualify me from races and strip me of my shiny medals.

And those of you who have been accusing me of drug use can now stop. I plead guilty.

If you have questions, comments or feedback, leave them below.

I vividly remember the days when I shared an office (for three years) with a sports medicine physician. All day long, marathoners, triathletes, cyclists, and weekend warriors would come through the medical clinic door complaining of chronic aches, pains, and injuries that they’d been fighting for weeks, months, and even years.

Little did they know that with just a few simple recovery tips, they could have easily saved themselves expensive doctor’s office visits, surgeries, missed workouts, canceled races, pain, and frustration.

So I would be remiss not to equip you with everything I’ve discovered through years of research and trial and error that work like gangbusters to keep your body in pristine shape—especially if you’re laying down some serious damage by going above and beyond the status of “weekend warrior.”

In today’s article, you’ll discover 23 of my top techniques, gear, and nutrition advice for rapid recovery from your workouts. Sure, I’ve mentioned some of these gear, food, supplementation, and underground recovery techniques before, but never aggregated all of them into one mighty blog post that will have you bouncing back from workouts, races, events, and injuries faster than ever.

Techniques For Rapid Recovery

1. Acupuncture

I’ll admit that it may seem inconvenient, odd, and a bit excessive to include acupuncture as a convenient or do-able recovery method. As one of the oldest healing practices in the world though, acupuncture has been proven to help in recovery from muscular fatiguerecovery from overtrainingmanagement of muscle pain, and many of the common issues faced by physically active or overtrained people.

For over 5,000 years, Eastern medicine practitioners have used acupuncture to correct the body’s flow of boundless energy (often referred to as Ki, Chi or Qi) to improve health and eliminate disease. While Western medicine practitioners may not agree with traditional explanations of acupuncture’s mechanism of action, they finally recognize that acupuncture does indeed work for not only chronic pain, but also conditions like depressionallergies, and headaches.

As a coach and athlete, I’ve found the occasional acupuncture session to be an incredibly useful method for everything from nagging aches and pains to IT band friction syndrome to nagging hip pain to full-blown HPA Axis Dysregulation.

A relatively painless and simple procedure, acupuncture involves inserting hair-thin needles into certain points along your meridian, the path through which your boundless energy runs. Needling these points stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms by (according to Western medicine practitioners) stimulating blood flow, the release of endorphins, and other physiological processes that temporarily relieve pain.

For more on acupuncture, and an interview with the guy I personally use for my acupuncture, you should listen to the podcast episode “Exactly What To Expect If You Try Acupuncture.

And there’s no need to duck down back alleys to find some fringe Chinese medical clinic—in the USA, you’ll find that the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is chock full of licensed acupuncturists operating out of pristine medical clinics.

2. Stem Cell Therapy

Yes, I’m going all-in with the fringe stuff early in this article. Stem cell therapy is another potent recovery method that has flown under the radar for some time now but is finally becoming a bit more mainstream in recent years. This is due to stem cells’ ability to transform into neurons, muscle cells, and several different types of connective tissue, allowing for rapid joint regeneration and even the reversal of frailty related to aging.

Clinics such as the Institute of Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics in Tampa, Florida, inject non-embryonic stem cells into injury sites to stimulate rapid healing or to permanently fix chronic aches and pains. Companies like the U.S. Stem Cell Clinic in Weston, Florida (where I had my fat sucked out to concentrate and store my adipose-derived stem cells), Forever Labs in Berkeley, California (where I had my bone marrow removed to save for future longevity-enhancing injections) and Docere Clinics in Park City, Utah (where I underwent my full-body stem-cell makeover) are on the cutting edge of developing injectable stem-cell treatments to do everything from regrowing spinal cord cells to eradicating cartilage pain.

If stem cells offend your ethical values about how embryos should be used, then there’s no need to fret. Contrary to popular belief, stem cells can be harvested from sources other than human embryos, such as body fat and bone marrow. Clinics such as the Institute of Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics actually offer stem cells from these alternate regions for injections into injuries that need to be healed fast or chronic aches and pains that need a permanent fix. But at this point, an embryonic stem cell injection therapy session is going to require a jaunt to Europe or Asia, where those types of stem cell injections are more common.

Even one series of stem cell injections into a joint, throughout the body, or delivered intravenously can have a profound impact on an entire lifetime of recovery, and if you are an active individual with a decent recovery budget, I highly recommend exploring this new frontier of bouncing back faster.

3. Cryotherapy

The application of cold to an injured area is hardly a new concept. The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about the use of cold therapy to control pain and swelling in the 4th century B.C., and the Roman physician Galen described the use of cold compresses for analgesia following soft tissue injuries in the 1st century A.D. During the Middle Ages, ice was used for pre-surgical anesthesia, and ice therapy has been extensively used in the athletic training and physical therapy for the treatment of sports injuries for many years.

The benefits of cryotherapy include enhanced immune system, increased cell longevity, decreased level of inflammatory molecules such interleukin-6, and of course, an incredible tolerance to be able to run outside and do snow angels in your underwear.

Cryotherapy stimulates the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system by inducing a hormetic stress response. A hormetic stressor is any light or mild stressor (like exercise) that stimulates a beneficial adaptive response, so you come out stronger than you were before. When you experience cold, the sympathetic nervous system (your “fight-or-flight” nervous system) kicks into gear to preserve your core body temperature. Blood vessels in your extremities constrict, restricting blood flow so that the temperature of your internal organs doesn’t drop. As a result, your heart rate increases to pump blood where it needs to go, and your lungs breathe powerfully and deeply. The result is a boost to your sympathetically controlled cardiovascular system and an overall improved recovery process.

I personally use some form of cryotherapy nearly every day, particularly in the form of a morning and an evening cold shower, a daily dip in the cold pool behind my house, and a long history of many swims in frigid lakes, rivers and seas, which I consider to be a muscular and nervous system “reboot.”

One way to maximize the effects of cold exposure and heat exposure is to use hot-cold contrast therapy. Hot-cold contrast therapy is alternating exposure to hot and cold water or temperatures. Once a week, regardless of my training load or recovery status, I personally do a hot-cold contrast session in which I swim, tread or move in my Aquatic Fitness pool, which I keep at 55~60˚F, for 8 minutes, soak in my hot tub, which I keep at 104˚F, for 2 minutes, then repeat this cycle for a total of 30 minutes.

You can simulate this session by taking a 5-minute shower and alternating between 20 seconds of cold water and 10 seconds of hot water 10 times through, sitting in a sauna for 5 to 10 minutes then jumping into a cold shower for 2 minutes and repeating for 20 to 30 minutes, or taking a 20-minute hot magnesium salt bath followed by a 5-minute ice-cold shower. The simplest solution? Just take a quick 1- to 2-minute cold shower at the beginning and end of each day.

When it comes to recovery and cryotherapy, this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ If you want to learn more, I’ve got plenty for you to read below—including an article that teaches you, step by step, how to make your own cold tub setup at home:

 

 

 

Affiliate Disclosure

 

Middle age comes to us all. Heh, perhaps it already came to you. It’s certainly knocking on my doorstep.

And the fact is, if you’re anywhere between twenty five and thirty years old (yep, physical degeneration, loss of hormones and degradation of connective tissue can begin as early as that!), then you’re probably experiencing some slightly distressing effects of aging: you have more digestive problems, your skin starts to fold into wrinkles, you find yourself losing energy, strength, and endurance, sun damage accumulates, urinary problems arise, and a disturbing host of malfunctions amass as your physiological machinery wears out and starts grinding itself into the ground.

Unfortunately, these things are pretty much taken for granted today. Muscle soreness, creaky joints, restricted movement and more are accepted as normal and status quo, especially once you’re “over the hill” of forty. And when that hill is mounted, the snowball of chronic disease and hearing loss can start to pick up speed. Heck, I’d be a rich man if I had a nickel for every time a sixty year old hunched over with back pain, knees buckling with arthritis and adipose tissue spilling over their waistline, says to me, “Just you wait!”

After all – everyone gets lots of wrinkles and creaky joints as they age, right? So why should you expect any different?

Maybe you’re already aware of this and you’ve already looked into a few common anti-aging strategies. Perhaps a miracle anti-aging cream? A colonic cleanse? Fancy spa treatments? Overpriced superfood cocktails?

Or perhaps you’ve turned to slightly more fringe methods and attempted to take a peek into the oft-confusing world of “biohacking” your anti-aging and longevity efforts. Let’s be honest, there are a growing variety of basic to super advanced biohacks that “all the kids” are using these days – the mile-long list of which is enough to send your head into a fiery, careening tailspin, your time into a confusing pursuit of researching what might actually work, and your wallet into a state of significant emptiness.

Fact is, whether you’ve been trying to reverse the effects of aging, if your skin is sagging and your mind feels foggy and tired, if you want to get that ol’ spring in your step that once was there, if injury is just a misstep away and if you want to enjoy the outdoors with your children and grandchildren for decades to come…

…some strategies – even so-called, new-fangled “biohacks” – actually can indeed put the brakes on aging.

You just have to know where to start.

So in this article, you’re going to learn how your body ages, the physical processes that aging affects the most, how certain body systems like the immune system should function (and how they relate to aging), and finally, (perhaps most importantly) what you can actually do to promote your health and your longevity using simple, easy-to-understand biohacks that get you the best results with the minimal effective dose and effort.

The biohacks introduced in this article have been carefully selected for you to use for each decade past thirty years old, presented in a style that makes it simple and easy for you to understand and to make things as least confusing as possible when it comes maximizing your lifespan by using modern science.

But before diving into the basic best biohacks that get you the most bang for your buck, let’s begin by investigating whether you actually can defy aging, and a few key variables that actually affect aging, shall we?


Can You Defy Aging?

The truth is, your body is built to last. It’s a master of survival. But it doesn’t just survive. It wants to thrive.

 

64-year old hunk Mark Sisson puts it very well:

“Most of life is really much simpler than modern medicine and science would like to have you believe. You can have a tremendous impact on how your genes express themselves, simply by providing your cells the right environments. All you need is a basic understanding of how your body works and a simple philosophical roadmap you can use to find answers to just about any questions of health and fitness – whether it involves personal choices or lifestyle adjustments or whether medical intervention might be appropriate. With this simple strategy, you will forever be able to examine or evaluate any food choice, any form of exercise or any other behavior in the context of how it impacts your genes!”

Jeanne Calment, born in Arles, France in 1875, was still riding a bicycle until she was one hundred! She passed in 1997, at the death-defying age of 122.

There are plenty more examples of very long-living, happy, well functioning “old people”. For example, in this recent longevity podcast (in the news flashes section) I geeked out for about twenty minutes on several such examples.

So, how do you get there?

Well, admittedly, part of defying aging is likely due to genetics. Madame Jeanne Calment’s parents lived well into their late 80’s and early 90’s. Like Calment, you ladies out there have a better chance of reaching quite a respectable age than your male counterparts (the list of the oldest people in the world has more women on it than men). But no matter your gender, there are things you can actively do, habits you can develop, lifestyle changes you can make, and yes, even biohacks, that will all contribute to a longer, healthier, happier life.

But before diving into the practical things you can do to add years to your life, there are a few basic concepts you should familiarize yourself with so that you can understand how a human body actually ages.


How You Age

Biologically speaking, aging is an accumulation of damage, breakages in the molecular machinery of cells, a buildup of metabolic waste products that your body cannot break down, and the failure of biological systems that are increasingly unable to cope with the stress of daily life. Simply put, your body can no longer defend itself, repair itself, and purge itself. The three primary ways in which your body does those things are through the immune system, diet, and sleep.

So before moving on, here’s a brief explanation of why they’re so important to your longevity.

Inflammation and Your Immune System

Your immune system is vast and complex and involves a number of systems, including the vascular/arterial systems, the lymphatic system, the endocrine system and more. And a huge player in any immune response, whether to an infection, strain or fractures, is inflammation.

Inflammation, on its own, is not a disease. It’s part of a natural, healthy immune response that’s stimulated by things like environmental toxins, bad foods, and stress. Inflammatory problems arise when something in your lifestyle is out of balance. A poor diet and unhealthy habits can lead to overproduction of inflammatory chemicals, which, more often than not, run rampant once released. The normal Western diet doesn’t provide nearly enough anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Scientifically speaking, inflammation is the process by which the body’s white blood cells, and their products, protect you from invading organisms. When a strain of bacteria gets inside you, it might be attacked by what are called complement proteins. These basically puncture the membrane of the bacteria to destroy them by a process known as osmotic lysis. The bacteria can also be killed off through phagocytosis, where phagocytic immune cells engulf and destroy them. Or the infection can be fought (if the immune cells themselves become infected) through a cell-mediated response that reveals the hidden bacterium to the rest of the immune system.

This is a vital part of the acute inflammatory response. But when it occurs apart from a normal immune response, inflammation is connected to all kinds of problems. This is called chronic inflammation, a long-term condition that can last up to several years or more. Your body isn’t designed to deal with this type of generic immunological activity, and eventually, the excess white blood cells and their by-products can damage your organs. Chronic inflammatory systemic diseases (CIDs) occur when the stimulating trigger of inflammation isn’t removed, which leads to maladaptive responses that include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and multiple sclerosis, all of which increase mortality and reduce your well-being.

In light of this, your personal strategy to increase your years and improve their quality has to include some methods of minimizing the causes of inflammation and over-stimulated immune activity.

Diet & Fat Loss On Aging

. Dr. Jordan Rubin describes the general brain-gut connection quite well in his book Patient, Heal Thyself. Early on in human embryogenesis (fetal development), some tissue called the “neural crest” appears and divides. One part becomes the central nervous system, and the other becomes the enteric nervous system. Later on, the two systems link up through a neural cable called the “vagus nerve”, which meanders from the brainstem through the organs in the neck and thorax, finally ending in the abdomen. This explains why you get butterflies in your stomach before going on stage, why you get stomach cramps before a hard workout or race, and why antidepressants can cause nausea and stomach upset can depress you.

But stomach problems don’t just lead to mood changes and depression.

Turns out, three-quarters of your immune system resides in your digestive tract. And that entire immune system is protected from its external environment (your food) by a thin, fragile lining that’s only one cell thick. If that lining is damaged and the barrier that it creates is penetrated, crazy things happen. You become allergic to foods you could normally handle without a problem, you get sick much more easily, and your whole immune system becomes overactive, which can result in chronic inflammation (hey, starting to come full circle).

And the things that punch holes in your digestive tract are things that you put there yourself – food. The number one offender is a chemical found on major edible plants like wheat, soy, and corn, anything that’s been grown commercially and sprayed down. It’s called glyphosate and it’s used to kill weeds and insects. Once it winds up in your digestive tract, nothing’s gonna stop it from doing what it does best: killing living tissue. And not only will it destroy your gastrointestinal (GI) lining, it’ll also disrupt the microbiome of healthy bacteria living inside of you.

You also have to be aware of your diet’s effect (or absence of) on oxidation in your body. Oxidation is a part of a normal metabolism, but just like other aspects of life, it involves tradeoffs. Your body produces energy, but at the same time it produces oxidants, or “free radicals”. Free radicals are essentially any molecular species capable of existing on their own, which contain an unpaired electron in atomic orbit. Many of these molecules are unstable and highly reactive. Some free radicals are actually produced by normal metabolic processes, but many are externally sourced by cigarette smoking, air pollutants and industrial chemicals, and these, along with naturally occurring free radicals, are active agents in many conditions, including atherosclerosis, inflammatory conditions, certain cancers, and the overall process of aging. If this oxidative stress is left unchecked, it can result in cardiovascular diseases and DNA damage faster than you can check into a nursing home.

This means that you’ll have to be more mindful the next time you go to the store. Even when buying “market fresh” fruits and veggies, or meat from animals that have been fed on any of these things, think about where exactly they came from. You don’t want to put the plant version of a napalm bomb in your stomach. You’re also going to need to include certain things into your diet as antioxidants to directly counteract the aging effects of normal metabolic activity. Here, you’re going to discover some of the types of food you should be eating, as well as dietary supplements that will help mitigate the harmful effects of your environment and your own natural bodily processes.

Sleep & Aging One of the most cutting-edge experts on sleep, Nick Littlehales, delves into what really stimulates great sleep and what deprives you of it, and coaches some of the world’s most elite athletes, including Cristiano Ronaldo. He helps reevaluate the mattress you sleep on, eliminate airborne particulates, and more. And here, you’re going to discover similar issues that will have massive implications for your zzz’s.

Sleep is critical for the proper physiological function of every system in your body. When you sleep, your body repairs and revitalizes itself. None of this is new. But if you’re like many people, you also most likely underestimate the power of sleep as compared to a healthy diet and regular exercise. A man named William Dement, who headed up the team in the 50’s that basically “discovered” REM sleep, thinks that high-quality sleep is as powerful an indicator of longevity as genetics.

In the mammalian brain, you find what’s called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is thought to be the “circadian clock” that regulates normal circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms, in a nutshell, are the human reaction to the night-and-day cycle. While they’re always generated by the body, their precise periods and phase relationships are set by external, environmental factors (e.g., the sun). The environmental factors do their work largely by means of photoreceptors and visual pathways. Light from both the sun and artificial sources directly stimulates the retinohypothalamic tract which triggers a circadian response that changes little throughout the day, and in our modern world undergoes delayed onset during the evening and is activated during late night/dark hours. The obvious way this type of stimulation begins is through those big ol’ honkin’ photoreceptors in your face – your eyes. But there are also photoreceptors literally all over your body in your skin. There are even photoreceptors in your ears. Even trace amounts of light that creep in through your window can have a huge impact on your sleep quality, all while you’re slumbering away.

As you can see from the examples above, your body is designed to act in a particular way under certain circumstances at specific times.

Your immune system is a huge machine, tightly packed with gears and cranks and nuts and bolts, that, when stimulated, starts to shore up your initial lines of defense with an army of cytokines and macrophages and inflammatory chemicals. But when you subject yourself to external stressors like a poor diet, you can throw off the delicate balance of hormones, inflammation and anti-inflammatory compounds, and your physical structure. That’s because your digestive system itself is a delicate flower, finely tuned to a point, and when something is amiss, your immune system is gonna feel it, since most of it is in your GI tract. And then when your hormones and inflammatory functions and stomach are on the fritz, the quality of your sleep will plummet. These three systems, responsible for defending, repairing, and purging your body, are tightly interwoven, so that even if just one is out of sync, they all suffer. As damage accumulates, you won’t be able to cope with the labors of daily life nearly as effectively as you could.

Taking charge of your longevity and health has to start with some tactics for regulating those systems and improving their function. And that’s the real reason you’re here right now. So armed with all this knowledge, it’s finally time to peel back the layers of the realm of biohacking, and present the barebones, do-or-die hacks to improve your longevity and well-being.


The Best Biohacks For 30-40 Year Olds

At this point in your life, aging problems may just be starting to manifest themselves. Or, if you’re lucky and took good care of yourself in your teens and 20’s, maybe they’re still a couple years down the road. Inevitably, though, there comes a time in a middle-aged person’s life when the body starts to turn on itself. And this decade in particular is an interesting one.

Inversion: Inversion is a simple yet incredibly effective anti-inflammatory technique. If you just finished a hard workout, or if you’ve been on your feet for hours on end, then you know how it feels when your feet and legs get heavy and sore. This is due to the waste products that have built up over the course of the day. They’re not being cleared out as effectively as they could be due to a simple yet powerful reason: gravity.

Gravity is forcing your heart and lymphatic system to work harder to clear everything out, so to speed up recovery, you need to make gravity work for you. Inversion helps to drain the blood, metabolites, and inflammatory by-products out of your legs. It also redirects blood to the head, reactivates the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system, and stimulates lymphatic circulation. You can achieve this effect simply by laying on your back with your feet propped up against the wall. But you can also get more efficient with tools and techniques designed just for this type of therapy.

ELDOA routines are unique exercises that, among other things, help to stimulate greater blood flow (to help get waste out of your system) and reduce inflammation, particularly in the joints. An inversion table is also a valuable asset in anyone’s office, home gym or garage. It’s basically like a seesaw for racers, exercise enthusiasts, and stay-at-home parents who spend the day on their feet. You strap your feet in at one end, lay back, and it’ll flip you upside down. This will also help with lower back and hip alignment. Or, if you have a pull-up bar hanging around somewhere and don’t want a large inversion table taking up space, you can get inversion gravity boots. These take up almost no space, strap easily around your ankles, and have secure hooks that latch onto any solid, straight bar for total inversion and inflammation reduction. However you do it, just invert yourself.

Cyclic Eating and Fat Burning: If you’re familiar at all with fringe diet hacks, you’ve probably overheard someone mention the hot-topic words “intermittent fasting” and “cyclic ketosis”. Intermittent fasting hearkens back to the daily situation that ancestral man found himself in: food was not readily available. These hunter-gatherers couldn’t just wake up and pour themselves a bowl of Primal-O’s (with 7 essential vitamins & minerals!) and some raw goat’s milk. They had to physically work every day to find their food. And when food was scarce, they’d have to live off of their fat stores. So their stomachs inevitably got frequent breaks.

Today, though, that doesn’t happen often. But our digestive systems still function pretty much the same way they did thousands of years ago, which means that no matter how healthy or nutrient dense the food, excessive and constant calorie consumption is stressful to the body because it taps into precious energy stores to break down, digest, absorb and assimilate a never-ending onslaught of food. Just like with muscular training, you have to give your body a break to recover. In fact, caloric restriction can reduce the morbidity of a number of longevity-threatening diseases, including autoimmune diseases, atherosclerosis, cardiomyopathies, cancer, diabetes, renal diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and respiratory diseases.

There are a couple different ways that you can fast in order to give your body a break from digesting food. The first is known as twenty-four hour intermittent fasting. For every twenty-four hour cycle, you’d have a twelve to sixteen hour fasted period, resulting in eight to twelve hours of eating. For example, you can eat dinner around 8 pm, then eat nothing until breakfast or an early lunch sometime between 8 am and noon the next day.

Then, every once in awhile (once every one to two months minimum), pick a day when you’re going to completely clean out your body and allow for enhanced cellular autophagy (basically a physiological “cleaning-house”) by engaging in a longer fast. By refraining from food for extended periods of time (twenty four hours or more), you’ll give your body a fighting chance to turn its attention to other matters, like cellular repair and restoration.

Ladies, though, be careful with daily intermittent fasting. Many women find that fasting causes sleeplessness, anxiety, and irregular periods, among a myriad of other hormonal dysregulation symptoms. That may sound slightly sexist and unfair, but it’s just the way it is. You will have much better results (without throwing a monkey wrench into your hormonal machinery) with occasional twenty four hour fasts than with alternate day or daily sixteen hour fasting.

Now, on to ketosis. The average American diet consists of high amounts of protein and carbohydrates (particularly if you’re an athlete). Both cause you to develop insulin and leptin resistance, which will cause your body to produce even more insulin. High blood insulin levels can lead to things like obesity, sleep problems, and hypertension, and it can contribute to inflammation. To avoid these problems, you have to make a fuel switch from sugar to fat.

When your body uses fat for fuel, it enters a state of high-efficiency fat-burning and it doesn’t release nearly as many reactive oxygen species and free radicals and that will reduce any chronic inflammation and cellular-level damage you might be experiencing. The standard ketogenic diet focuses on high consumption of healthy fats (70% of your diet, comprised of fat sources like MCT oil or coconut oil), moderate protein intake (25%), and very low carbohydrate consumption (5%). Give it a try and see how you feel!

Early Morning Light: Believe it or not, getting a good night’s sleep begins in the morning. To stimulate normal circadian phase cycles, you have to be exposed to some kind of natural sunlight, or its equivalent, first thing in the morning. Blue light, which is naturally produced by the sun, has a particular wavelength and has the highest energy of all visible light. It’s largely responsible for regulating your circadian rhythms via the direct retinohypothalamic tract pathway through your eyes.  A simple 10 to 20 minute walk outside in the morning will help you reset your biological clock and put you on a healthy circadian rhythm.

If you can’t access the sun, you can bring the sun to you! You can replace some of the lightbulbs in your house or apartment with specially designed bulbs that bombard you with blue light. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also get what are called Retimer glasses, which emit a bright, greenish-blue light into your eyes. These are particularly useful because, while the sun will stimulate waking activity, you can’t control when the sun comes up. If you’re waking up at some ungodly hour of the morning, or have trouble waking up at a reasonable time, the Retimer glasses actually let you completely reset your sleep cycles. If you wake up at 4 a.m. but don’t want to, you can keep yourself in low-level light until, say, 6 a.m., and then put on the Retimer glasses. After a couple weeks of this therapy, you’ll start to wake up naturally at 6am. You can also affect your circadian cycles through the photoreceptors in your ears. The HumanCharger is a set of earbuds that, in a way similar to the Retimer glasses, blast your photoreceptors in your ears with blue light, which will not only help regulate your sleep cycles but also stimulate greater activation of the visual and sensory-motor areas of the brain.

Total Darkness: Since blue light (which is generated by the sun and pretty much all electronic device screens and LED light sources) cranks your brain into gear and stimulates waking activity, you’ll need to reduce your exposure to it later in the day, and preferably, completely eliminate it when you go to bed. An easy way to do this is to download phone and computer applications that dim the screens by filtering the blue light out.

A great app is IrisTech software, downloadable on your computer. It was developed by a computer programmer who spent up to 10 hours a day staring at a screen. He knew that blue light had a high “color temperature” that could both cause major eye pain and strain and reduce the quality of sleep. IrisTech is specifically designed to eliminate that effect, so that throughout the day as you work and play on your laptop, you don’t throw off your circadian cycles. You can check out this podcast for a lot more information on things like IrisTech and unhealthy light.

Another easy option is to get yourself a pair of blue light-blocking glasses. These glasses are specially tinted to let other light wavelengths in while keeping blue light out. When it comes to eliminating blue light exposure while you’re actually sleeping, the Sleep Master Sleep Mask is an all-in-one, total light elimination and sound-reduction mask to help induce amazingly deep and refreshing sleep. It’s for everyone who wants to nap better, sleep better while traveling, and for those whose partners insist on watching TV or reading late into the night.

But since your photoreceptors aren’t limited to your eyes, if you want to eliminate all sleep-damaging light sources at night, you have to completely clear your room of LEDs, normal light bulbs, and light exposure from outside your bedroom. If you have any kind of artificial light coming in through the window (most of you probably do), you should install 100%, total blackout curtains. Even trace amounts of external light from a street lamp or storefront across the street can affect your circadian rhythms. If you have a Wifi router or electronic clock or computer with flickering lights anywhere in your room, you also need to cover all of the bright flashing lights with black LED blocking tape. It comes in all shapes and sizes to accommodate the wide range of sleep-disrupting devices that may be scattered across your bedroom.

G-Forces: Good lymphatic circulation is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system. The lymphatic system removes and destroys waste, debris, dead blood cells, pathogens, and cancer cells, it absorbs fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system, and removes excess fluid from the cells. When lymph flow improves, more toxins are cleared out of the system, and the immune-boosting vitamins, minerals and essential oils you use will get where they need to go. But, while lymph flows through capillaries in a way similar to blood, the lymphatic system doesn’t have any kind of pump like the heart to force it around your body. It relies entirely on movement – resistance training, running, yoga, pilates, really any kind of muscular and joint movement. Even self-performed massages, known as simplified lymphatic drainage, promote better lymph flow.

But if you want your lymphatic system to work with more efficiency, you can stimulate it by generating G-forces. The term “G-force” refers to, in some cases, the force of gravity on any given planet (like Earth), and in other cases, the force of acceleration in any situation. Subjecting your body to low level G-forces causes greater lymphatic movement.

A trick I learned from a Navy SEAL commander that uses altered G forces to stimulate lymph flow is to bounce up and down on your feet without leaving the ground. You can also use a small, personal trampoline that can fit in your bedroom or garage – just make sure the ceiling is high enough. Vibration therapy also improves lymph flow. The full-body Bulletproof Vibe Platform, as well as localized devices like the MyoBuddy Massager Pro are both great options. However you crank those G-forces up, it’ll provide better lymphatic circulation than just lifting weights or practicing yoga alone.


The Best Biohacks For 40-50 Year Olds

Now you’ve entered what people typically think of when someone mentions “middle-age”. If you’re like most people, you’ve made your way through a couple largely sedentary decades, your muscles are weakening, arthritis might be creeping in, and your nightly trips to the bathroom are becoming all too common for your liking.

Unless you know what you’re doing, it’ll get worse and worse for another fifteen to twenty years, and then it’ll be even more difficult to reverse the effects of aging. So if you want to be the one that makes everyone say, “Charlene, you don’t look a day over 30!”, you need to start tending to every part of your body, from the skin on the outside to the white calcium foundations of your bones. 

At fifty, immune function is starting to decline, so you have to go beyond just stimulating more lymphatic flow. Your bones and muscles are starting to degenerate faster and lifting a chair across the room is a little more difficult than you remember.  And sleep starts to slip further and further from your drooping eyelids. You need more than just weird movements like inversion or more exposure to light to solve your problems. And that leads us to…

Vibration Therapy: Yep, more vibration therapy. Vibration devices are good for more than just lymphatic circulation. As you age, bone density decreases and fractures or complete breakages become much more common. This is known as osteoporosis. Full disclosure, osteoporosis can occur at pretty much any age. But as you get older, as bone density decreases and your strength and balance diminish as well, it becomes one of the key factors in age-related bone fractures. In particular, postmenopausal women are at higher risk for osteoporosis. Which means, as menopause sets in during your late 40’s and early 50’s, you should be doing as much as you can to promote strong bones. And vibration therapy is the perfect tool to do that.

Vibration devices generate G forces (for the Bulletproof platform, a rate of 2.7-3.3 G, or 26.46-32.34 meters per second squared) that force you to lightly contract your muscles in order to maintain balance and stability, and this contraction reinforces the intimate relationship between your muscles and bones. Muscle strength and stability are known predictors of bone density because like muscular strength, bone rigidity is directly proportional to the habitual mechanical loads placed on the bones. A bone that is subjected to habitual mechanical loads (such as through exercise) becomes well adapted to that load (i.e., increases density) so it can withstand the force without breaking.

One study conducted on postmenopausal women found that a 24-week WBV (whole-body-vibration) program improved both muscle strength and hip bone density, the second of which was not observed in the women who participated in normal resistance training. Investing in a vibration platform, although somewhat pricey, would be worthwhile so that you can stay active during and after these early middle years without a high risk of personal injury.

Collagen Smoothie: Collagen can significantly reduce the effects of aging. Your skin is your largest organ, serving many functions. One of those functions, specifically in the inner layer known as the dermis, is the production of elastin and collagen by fibroblasts. Collagen is the major fibrous protein found in the extracellular matrix of your body, as well as in connective tissue. When connected, collagen molecules pack together to form various types of structures like fibrils and two-dimensional reticulums, and they all serve a large, single purpose – to withstand stretching, hold your tissue together, and spring it back to its original shape.

But over time, the quality and quantity of collagen that the dermis produces can be seriously affected both by diet and exposure to the sun until it becomes disorganized and abnormal in nature. When you observe the skin in that state, it’s loose and dry, resulting in one of the markers of old age – wrinkles. By supplementing your diet with collagen, you can minimize the degeneration of your dermal and epidermal tissue. Collagen is also a crucial aspect of bone structure, so by adding extra, high-quality collagen to a smoothie or taking a collagen supplement like NatureFlex as you age, you’ll solidify your entire physiological infrastructure from the inside out. It’s as easy as throwing in a scoop or two of powdered collagen into a smoothie.

Supplement Your Sleep: There’s a host of culprits that will disrupt healthy sleep, but some of the most notorious ones involve a reduction in the natural secretion of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is produced primarily at night by the tiny pineal gland, an endocrine gland located smack-dab in the middle of your brain. It’s normal function is to induce sleep. Over time, the production of melatonin degenerates. There are a number of environmental factors that impact how melatonin behaves and circulates, namely the light-dark cycle, but you can also influence its function through your diet. Its synthesis depends on the availability of its precursor, tryptophan (TRP), an essential amino acid (essential amino acids can’t be produced naturally by the body). When intake of TRP is low, melatonin production is inhibited. Luckily, TRP is readily available in foods like turkey, eggs, nuts, and different types of cheese.

But there are other nutrients that you’ve most likely never heard of that also have a massive impact on the quality of your sleep. A supplement called Sleep Remedy contains small amounts of the nutrients involved in producing melatonin, like L-Tryptophan but also 5-Hydroxytryptophan. It also contains something called phGABA, which is a key player in the initiation of REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep, the phase in your sleep when your brain becomes more active and intense dreams occur. Sleep Remedy was created by sleep physician and former Navy SEAL, Dr. Kirk Parsley, who wanted to design a supplement that let’s hard-charging or stressed-out folks settle down for the night, but it’s just as effective for anyone who’s dealing with the detrimental effects of aging on sleep.

Thick as Thieves: A 15th century tale of four thieves is notable today because, as they roamed the countryside robbing people and tombs as professional thieves do, they never got sick. Turns out, they made a habit of applying specific herbs and spices to their bodies that did two things: stabilized and supported their bodies’ natural immunological responses and eliminated dangerous bacterial bioaerosols. These included cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, eucalyptus, and more.

You can get different essential oil blends called “thieves” essential oil, made by a few different companies, and while the oil blends can differ a little, there are a few oils that are staples. One study observed the effect of a blend of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary on three bacteria species, Micrococcus luteus (can cause skin infections in people with compromised immune systems), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (can cause pneumonia), and Staphylococcus aureus (associated with a number of skin infections and life-threatening diseases and septic conditions). After 10 minutes of exposure to the diffused blend, these three bacteria (respectively) underwent reductions of 82%, 96%, and 44%. The oils also naturally increase the activity of your white blood cells and increase the strength of your lymphatic system. Cinnamon, for example, contains a number of chemicals, like trans-cinnamaldehyde, caryophyllene oxide, and cinnamyl acetate that make it a potent anti-inflammatory. And all these oils blend together to give you a major immunity boost.

Body Protecting Compound (BPC): Your body has a remarkable ability to protect itself. From the considerable powers of the immune system to the massive outer cellular coat we call skin, when you treat your body correctly, it uses the resources you put in it extremely efficiently. And one of (if not the most) impressive lines of defense is produced in trace amounts in your gastric juices to help protect and heal your gut. It’s known as body protecting compound (BPC).

Normally, it’s restricted to use in your GI tract. But you can also get it in a hyper-concentrated version known as BPC-157. When it’s injected into your body, it initiates an extremely potent level of biological healing activity that includes: tendon and ligament healing, tendon-to-bone healing so effective that it may supplant present reconstructive surgical methods, counteraction of the damaging effects of NSAIDs like ibuprofen or Advil, minimization of damage from inflammatory bowel disease, elimination of periodontitis, muscle healing, and bone healing. It may even help in the prevention of life-threatening conditions like pulmonary hypertension syndrome. This is biohacking at its finest and you can learn everything you need to know about using BPC-157 in this article I wrote. If you’re injured, deal with chronic inflammation, or suffer from gut damage, you should give BPC-157 a serious position in your supplement cabinet.


The Best Biohacks For 50-60 Year Olds

Half a century. That is impressive, especially by ancestral standards. Thousands of years ago, you would have been one of the most respected, experienced members of your community, because your age spoke on your behalf, saying, “I’m smart enough, fast enough, and strong enough to have made it this far still kicking.”  And back then, if you had made it this far, you were likely still in phenomenal health, capable of keeping up with your younger peers as they went through the day’s activities.

What our ancestors would NOT be impressed with is the range of biological degenerative effects that half a century inflicts on most first-world people today. But, as evidenced by the way people lived thousands of years ago, 50 years per se isn’t really the problem. Genetically, not much has changed. The difference today, as you’ve read over and over again, is the environment we set up for ourselves.

As genetic and molecular damage accumulates, it seeps deeper and deeper into your body, which means that at this stage of life your go-to biohacks need to affect change at the genetic and molecular levels. You need to start influencing the way your mitochondria behave, the way your sleep interacts with the earth, and the way your neurons are designed to work. There’s thousands of years of genetic heritage at your back, and with decades of biological damage in your system, you’re gonna need all the help you can get to capitalize on your genes’ natural expression. Here, you’re about to discover a few of the more fringe biohacking strategies that hearken back down the ages to put you in the best health possible at this milestone age.

Infrared Immunity: One of the hottest topics in the biohacking world is infrared/far infrared light therapy. Infrared light is a particular wavelength range of light, specifically, any light with a wavelength between 0.7 micron (1 micron = 1/1,000,000 meters) to about 0.1 mm. The light that we “see” reflected off of objects onto our eyes is shorter than 0.7. Anything longer than that becomes invisible to our eyes. But you can still experience it, and you have, anytime you feel heat coming from the sun or a campfire (examples of thermal infrared light).

Infrared light can be used in a number of ways to stimulate lots of cellular level activity in your body. In fact, your body naturally produces its own infrared light as a critical element of mitochondrial activity (remember, the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell). It’s so critical, that if you weren’t exposed to it either by your body or by the sun, you’d die. But you can expose yourself to greater amounts of external infrared light, which penetrates up to an inch and a half into your body, to benefit from this therapy.

Evidence has been mounting that infrared light therapy can, via photostimulation and photobiomodulation, benefit neural stimulation and regeneration, wound healing, and cancer treatment. And at specific wavelengths like 0.85 micron, infrared light can even reduce inflammation by regulating the activity of T-cell cytokines, molecules secreted by a number of different cells that tell your body to direct energy and reinforcements to areas that may be inflamed. I immerse my body in red infrared light while working in my office with the Joovv Light that hangs on my office door. If you want to completely immerse yourself in infrared light for complete and total absorption, you can install an infrared sauna like the Clearlight Infrared Sauna in your home gym, garage, workshed, or pretty much anywhere. And while you do have to be careful when using infrared light (near, mid-range, or far), the benefits they lend when used properly are enormous.

Vitamin E Supplementation: As you’ve already learned, over time your body loses its ability to keep your skin and connective tissue both tight and flexible. One of the big reasons why is long-term exposure to the sun. But another, which by now you’re very familiar with, is oxidative stress. When the activity of free radicals in the dermis, the part of the skin right underneath the very outer layer, is not regulated properly (which occurs more and more as you age), they begin to damage dermal fibroblasts. Remember that fibroblasts are responsible for producing the molecules that both tighten your body tissues as well as allow them to stretch without breaking. And, as already mentioned, collagen makes a great supplement to help counteract your degenerating fibroblasts.

But as you age, your amino acid and protein synthesis declines, so you need to take even greater steps. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that counteracts the effects of oxidative free radicals, and can actually reduce their impact on the skin by enhancing both skin moisture and elasticity. Vitamin E works in part by protecting cell membranes (like fibroblasts) from lipid peroxidation, giving them time to recover and carry out their appropriate functions. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that will help counteract aging.

You do have to be wary, however, whenever you supplement your diet with high levels of vitamin EResearch indicates that an overdose of vitamin E can could lead to hemorrhagic stroke, as well as damage the fetus when taken during early pregnancy. It can also cause nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, weakness, headache, blurred vision, rashes, and bruising and bleeding. You should ALWAYS talk to a doctor about the proper dose for you personally. In addition, since vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should always be taken with food, specifically with some kind of good fat, like coconut, avocado, or olive oil, fatty meat/fish, butter/ghee, just some healthy fat source so that your body can properly absorb and utilize it in the places that need it most. But, despite the effects that overdosing can cause, that shouldn’t stop you from using it appropriately to maintain a youthful appearance and skin conditioning. It’s all about the right nutritional balance!

Electromagnetic Sleep: Sleep disorders are more common in older adults, due to lifelong exposure to stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, disease-caused pain such as arthritis, brain/neural conditions, physical inactivity, chronic disease, and certain medications, supplements and herbs. If you’re experiencing problems sleeping or falling asleep, it’s crucial to take steps to reduce/eliminate them.

The EarthPulse PEMF Sleep Machine is designed to release a pulsed electromagnetic field of 10 Hz to restore your sleep cycles from jet lag, sleep deprivation, exposure to electrical pollution and other stressors, as well as stimulate cellular regeneration. PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) exposure sets off a few different physiological reactions by mimicking the electromagnetic field created by the earth itself (hence the name of the device). The human neurological system is known to be paced by what are called Schumann waves created by the earth, and our mitochondria are tuned by the earth’s core resonation, which is right around 9.6 Hz. So, when ancestral man went to bed every night (in direct contact with the ground, of course), he was exposed to this resonation. And again, being genetically downstream of our ancestors, our bodies have developed to behave much in the same way.

Most metal frame beds or box spring mattresses magnify the earth’s electromagnetic field to a damaging frequency that can extend far above where you lie. So by exposing yourself to the electromagnetic field given off by the EarthPulse, you’re placing yourself in pretty much the same sleeping situation as your ancestors (you should also look into getting a mattress with no metal in it, like the Essentia Mattress, which eliminates harmful EMF exposure). Put the EarthPulse right next to you in bed and enjoy a restorative, regenerating night of zzz’s.

Flex Your Neurons: 53-year old Laird Hamilton, one of the most successful big wave surfers alive, puts many of the 20-something year-olds he competes with to shame. His secret? Constantly learning new stuff. His garage is a personal testament to this philosophy, full of new toys he’s invented to surf in different ways, along with skis, snowboards, jetskis, balance devices and more. This whole approach to youthfulness and vitality is predicated on the way your neurons and brain work. Here, it’s all about developing neural plasticity.

The brain has the capacity to adapt to a wide range of environmental changes. This helped our ancestors to survive and spread across the planet. You can simulate that type of neural training by learning new physical skills and forcing your brain and muscles to keep up by maintaining and building new neurons. But you can get a lot more scientific with your brain training. There are lots of programs available for initiating the development of cognitive function. For example, Lumosity focuses on five aspects of cognition: memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed and thought flexibility. They collaborate with researchers and scientists from over forty different universities to bring you some of the most cutting-edge training available for keeping your neurons pliable and strong. Staying young as you get older depends on a healthy nervous system, and it with apps like Lumosity, it only ten to fifteen minutes a day to keep your mind sharp and your body youthful. If you really want to take things to the next level, try neurofeedback.

Electrostimulation: This is another method to keep your muscles and neurons firing into your fifth decade and beyond. Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) really lets you capitalize on muscle training without worrying about straining or injuring yourself while you’re the gym or running in the park. And its benefits extend way beyond regular training supplementation.

Muscular atrophy as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure, sepsis and multiple organ failure can be minimized and/or eliminated by the use of EMS as an alternative to traditional exercise. To understand how EMS works, you have to understand how your muscles contract and relax. Skeletal muscles have multiple layers of structure, which at the very bottom of the pyramid are founded on thick filaments of myosin and thin filaments of actin. The process of contraction begins with the myosin heads being bound to the actin filaments. ATP present among the muscle cells causes the myosin heads to release and bind further along the actin, by about 5 nm. Now, the myosin is in the “cocked” position. The myosin heads then rebind at a new position along the actin, causing the “power stroke” phase where the myosin returns to its initial conformation, sliding the actin filament along. And this all happens in a split second.

Now, EMS has what’s called proprioceptive benefits, which means the electrical currents “grab” the muscle fibers ( the myosin and actin) and cause light stretching and contraction, to stimulate blood flow and recovery from ICU-level conditions, as well as speed up recovery from a hard workout. There are a number of available products, like the MarcPro or the Compex Sport Elite. Whichever you use, this should be one of your go-to hacks to maintain muscle mass and strength as you get older, without risk of traumatic injury.


The Best Biohacks For 60+ Year Olds

You’re well over the hill now, at least according to current standards. Hormonal function has declined, your protein synthesis is at an all-time low, and a good night of sleep may be no more than a distant memory. Systemic, cellular-level degeneration dictates what you can and cannot do. Getting out of bed, out of your chair, and off of the toilet becomes difficult, painful even. Your failing muscles may limit you to your home, the grocery store, and the local early bird special.

If your lifestyle for the last six decades (or more) has mostly been physically inactive and fueled by beer, junk food, and dangerous, chemical-laden veggies, your body has fallen into disuse and disrepair. Here, before it becomes too late, it’s time to knock the dust off your limbs, replenish the delicate community of organisms in your gut that you’ve destroyed over the years, and restore your nervous system, which at this point is likely in a bad, bad way. This is your final stand against creaking joints and saggy skin, as you turn and defiantly climb your way back to lasting good health and decades more of happiness.

The Gastrointestinal Microbiome: Your gut is alive and crawling with critters – five hundred species and three pounds of bacteria in your digestive tract form a giant ecosystem, a microbiome, that helps digest food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins, and produce vitamins and other healing compounds that keep your gut and body healthy. As you age, it’s especially important to take care of your gut and its microbiome of bacteria.  There are lots of things that can disrupt it.

One of the biggest, baddest guys around is a chemical called triclosan. You don’t have to go far to find it – it’s found in common household items like toothpaste, soap, detergent, even toys, and it’s a known antimicrobial that will destroy the friendly bacteria in your gut.. When the concentration of healthy bacteria changes, it can lead to things like high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening/narrowing of arteries), which itself can lead to life-threatening cardiovascular complications like strokes.

So to maintain robust good health into your sixties, seventies and eighties, you have to maintain healthy levels of stomach critters. Kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea, is a great, easy way to do that. Research has shown that kombucha can improve resistance against cancer, prevent cardiovascular diseases, and reduce inflammatory problems, all of which are failures or malfunctions of the immune system. You can get it at any pretty much any health food store in all sorts of delicious flavors. Yogurt, milk kefir, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, and probiotic supplements will also promote a healthy gut microbiome.

Morning Protein Shake: As you age, your protein synthesis isn’t going to be as efficient as it once was. Specifically, skeletal muscle in older humans becomes resistant to the anabolic (constructive) action of insulin as it applies to the construction of more complex proteins from simpler proteins. This results in a process known as sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and tissue. And one of the most important things you can do to combat this is to take supplementary protein, with amino acids, especially leucine. Leucine helps reverse the effects of aging on protein synthesisLeucine also helps to regulate blood-sugar levels, growth hormone production, and wound healing, and also prevents the breakdown of muscle proteins after trauma or severe stress.

As one of the nine essential amino acids, the body can’t produce leucine on its own, so you should start off each day with a good protein shake that has a high content of leucine. But leucine isn’t the only important essential amino acid; after all, that’s why they’re called essential. They all serve different functions, which you can check out  here. A great source of the essential amino acids, as well as the branched chain amino acids, is NatureAminos Essential Amino Acids. And you can take your protein supplementation even further with digestive enzymes. You might have heard of digestive enzymes, but never really gotten into using them. Well, you should. You can crank out your muscular recovery to new heights by blending your protein shake with digestive enzymes like Masszymes, which will then literally pre-digest the proteins and amino acids before you’ve even gotten them into your system. By doing so, you’ll enhance protein synthesis and amino acid availability, and fully enjoy the benefits of your strength training.

The BioMat: Sleep in elderly adults is often restless. You may get less sleep, have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently or wake up still tired. Part of the reason for this can be raised cortisol levels due to stressful conditions. Cortisol is a hormone that your body releases in response stress to help metabolize sugar and activate the “fight-or-flight” response. Stress can come from work, home, friends, the environment, anywhere. So, if you want to reduce cortisol levels, which inhibit good sleep, you need to reduce your stress levels.

The BioMat infrared sleep mat combines three technologies to help you get the best night’s sleep possible: far infrared rays, negative ion effects, and the conductive properties of amethyst channels. Far infrared heat in particular helps to stimulate blood flow and movement of fluids. If you’ve ever been by the beach, near a waterfall or been out right after a big storm, you probably felt this general “clean” feeling, which is the result of the negatively charged ions that are naturally produced in those situations. Negative ions clear the air of pollutants like spores, bacteria, cigarette smoke, dust and other particles (these are all positively charged particles), which can put your body under serious stress. By combining these with the amethyst channels, the Biomat delivers soothing, deep-penetrating heat therapy, reduces stress and initiates the regeneration of damaged cells in your body, all of which will help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling like a million bucks.

Low-Impact Sprinting: This advice comes directly from the man, Mark Sisson. He bases this philosophy on the way primal man would have moved through the world. First, instead of performing long, slow, “chronic cardio” workouts, he does short, fast all-out sprint workouts (ultimate frisbee, treadmill high intensity interval training, hard, uphill cycling, etc.), and recommends doing these once every seven to ten days. Second, he does brief, intense sessions of full body, heavy weightlifting one to three times per week, for just seven to thirty minutes. And finally, he moves frequently at a slow pace, using things like treadmill workstations to get low-level physical activity all day long, avoiding long unbroken periods of sedentary time.

Now, the low-level movement aspect of this is fairly simple to implement. But, if you try a sprinting exercise at this age, most likely it will not end well because of the joint impact that most sprint workouts cause. There are even ways around this problem, though. For a low-impact workout, you can use things like the ElliptiGO Outdoor Elliptical Trainer. The ElliptiGO combines an elliptical with a bike so you can get the benefits of running and sprinting without all the stress on your ankles, knees, and hips. Since it was originally designed for cross-training and injured runners, it makes the perfect biohacking tool for any older adult who wishes they could move more, without hurting themselves, but isn’t sure how to go about doing that.

Stay Supple: It doesn’t matter how efficiently you train or how often. If you don’t keep yourself limber and supple, what good are your muscles gonna do? Olga Kotelko was one of the most prolific athletes over the age of 90, holding more than 30 world records in track and field events. She was so good that they sometimes had to place her in the mens’ events! Her go-to advice for longevity? Stay supple. She didn’t beat up her body every day without going out of her way to recover. She woke up every night, grabbed an old, empty wine bottle beside her bed, and gave herself a full-body, foam-roller style massage to break up the fascia (a web of connective tissue that can clump up due to exercise), and soothe her muscles and joints.

But there are much cooler toys than just an old wine bottle that you can use. The MyoBuddy, which was introduced earlier, makes a great addition to your collection of recovery tools. You can also get the RumbleRoller foam roller, the only foam roller that’s specifically optimized for total self-myofascial release to stimulate full muscular recovery and enhance lymphatic and blood circulation. In an age when muscle soreness, cranky joints and poor movement are common and accepted in old age, these should be some of the first things you reach for as you biohack your way to mobility and strength.


Summary

What are your greatest joys in life? Traveling? Going on a hike with loved ones? Enjoying a rich, delicious cabernet in the evening followed by a stroll in the cool air?

You could (and should!) be doing these and more for the rest of your life.

There’s simply no reason to accept the dogma that old age means less active, less healthy, and less vibrant. It’s said that the glory of old age is gray hair. And that’s true. But that doesn’t mean you can’t feel like you’re twenty years younger at the same time. Your well-being, the state of your immune system, your diet, and your sleep patterns don’t have to be subject to the routines of the modern world. You can take control of your health and shift your body into a state of longevity that reaches to your core.

In summary, here are all of the biohacks you’ve learned about listed for quick reference for each age-group:

30-40 years old:

  • G-forces for lymphatic circulation and immune function

40-50 years old:

  • BPC-157 for Wolverine-level recovery and repair

50-60 years old:

  • Infrared light exposure for the regulation of the immune system and inflammation
  • Vitamin E supplementation for antioxidant effects in your skin

60+

  • Kombucha for a healthy gastrointestinal microbiome
  • BioMat for stress relief and better sleep

Hopefully, this introduction to biohacking has been useful. At this point, you should have gained new insights into how your body functions, and how to tap into the true power of your genes that are just itching for the chance to express themselves the way they’re designed to. By no means was this an exhaustive list of the biohacks that prevent and reverse aging. There’s plenty more you can do to supplement these basic hacks. But the first step is always the most important and you don’t want to start your biohacking journey by shoving probes in your nose or strange devices and liquids up your butt.

So this week, your task is straightforward – give your genes that chance, and try using one of these sleep hacks you’ve just discovered. Work it into your daily habits. Whether you’re putting on a sleep mask, taking a sleep supplement or using a heat mat or chilling pad, just find a way to sleep better. As your sleep cycles reset, you’ll feel younger, fresher, more alert, and more efficient. You don’t need a science degree to combat aging, you don’t have to be an athlete to be in good shape forever, you don’t have to be twenty to feel twenty. Just start with the biohacks listed here and someday, you’ll be passing on your secrets to a long, happy life to your great-great-grandchildren.

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By: DAVE ASPREY

The Top 10 Supplements that Everyone Should Take
  • Modern farming practices deplete the soil, and food doesn’t have the nutrients that our grandparents’ food had.
  • Supplements can provide you with critical nutrients so that you can operate at max power, every day.
  • It’s easy to get it wrong, though. A lot of supplements are cheaply made, low-quality, and do more harm than good.
  • Here’s an overview of the problems with generic supplements, how to pick the right ones, and the list of supplements almost everyone should be taking.

There are three groups of people when it comes to supplements.

The first group shuns all forms of supplementation because “it isn’t natural” or because “cavemen didn’t have supplements.” They aim to get all of their nutrients from food, but often come up short.

The second group thinks supplements can make up for a crappy diet and high-stress levels.

The final group is somewhere in between. In my opinion, this is the best place to be.

Supplements are a double-edged sword. The wrong ones can do more damage than good, but the right ones can massively improve your health, even if you already eat a nutrient-dense diet.

In this article, you’re going to get an overview of the problems with generic supplements, how to pick the right supplements, and the list of supplements almost everyone should be taking.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: THROW AWAY YOUR MULTIVITAMINS

Array of vitamins and pills on blue backgroundWith half of the U.S. population taking a multivitamin, many people seem to think multivitamins are the first line of defense against malnutrition and disease. In fact, the opposite is true. Multivitamins can actually do more harm than good. Here are the three main reasons to choose targeted, individualized supplementation over multivitamins:

1. YOU’LL GET THE WRONG AMOUNTS OF VITAMINS AND MINERALS

Most multivitamins have too much of some nutrients, like vitamin A or B6, and not enough of others like magnesium. The result? You overdose on some nutrients, while not getting enough of others.

It is a common practice to use very small amounts of expensive nutrients, which allows manufacturers to still list them on the label. Average consumers don’t notice there are meaningless amounts of some nutrients, and they only want to take one pill anyway. There is no way to fit “a complete spectrum” of nutrients in one single pill.

2. MOST MULTIVITAMINS ARE LOW QUALITY

Nutrients come in different forms that behave differently inside your body. Folate is an essential B vitamin, but folic acid, the kind found in generic multivitamins, can cause a lot of problems. If you have the MTHFR gene mutation, and over half of people do, folic acid will make you tired and weak. It also increases your risk of certain cancers.[1] This may be why some studies show no benefit to taking multivitamins[2] and others suggest an increase in mortality.[3]

Then you have inactive ingredients. Many multivitamins are made with fillers and additives that make it hard for your body to even absorb the nutrients. So, even if they have the right amount of a nutrient on the label, very little may reach your cells.

In the end, you get what you pay for with supplements. You can delude yourself and buy the generic multivitamins at a big box store, or you can spend a little extra and actually do something to improve your health.

3. MULTIVITAMINS AREN’T FORMULATED FOR YOU

Your nutritional needs vary depending on whether you’re male or female, pregnant or not, old or young, your activity levels … the list goes on. Most multivitamins market a single formula for adults. There are very few people that a basic “adult” formula will work for. A mom with two kids and a full-time job is going to need a different spectrum of nutrients than a professional athlete.

HOW TO START SUPPLEMENTING

Before we get into the exact supplements you should take, here are some general criteria for supplementation:

GET THE MAJORITY OF YOUR NUTRIENTS FROM FOOD

You don’t eat nutrients – you eat food. Whole foods behave differently from their individual parts. For instance, the nutrients from a piece of meat are more bioavailable than consuming the equivalent nutrients from a pill or powder. Antioxidants from food are beneficial, but taking mega-doses of some synthetic antioxidants comes with risks like tumor growth.[4]

The nutrients in food work together in a process known as food synergy.[5] In short, this means food is more powerful than the sum of its parts. That’s why it’s important to start with a nutrient-dense diet, then supplement specific nutrients according to your specific needs and goals.

WHEN IN DOUBT, GO WITHOUT

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. It’s possible to abuse even the most natural herbal supplements or food-based vitamins and minerals. And supplements are not immune from heavy metals, contaminants, and byproducts from processing. Always check the sourcing and quality testing of your supplement providers. Your best bet is consulting with a licensed practitioner who can recommend quality brands.

WHAT SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Ways to Conquer PMS and PMDD_taking supplements vitamins_Magnesium_B Vitamins_Calcium D-glucarateI take over 100 pills a day, carefully selected for my own needs using blood and urine testing over the last decade. That’s why this isn’t called “the complete guide to supplementation.” This list does not cover my recommendations for smart drugs or other brain-enhancing nutrients. These are just the basic supplements that benefit almost everyone.

In an effort to save time and make it easier and safer for you to take these nutrients in their highest performing form, I have been following cutting-edge research to source and develop some of these nutrients in their most proven/pure form and dose. It takes a lot of effort and resources to develop a truly exceptional supplement. If I haven’t been able to do that yet, I will recommend another product I trust and use. I have no relation or affiliation with those companies.

Here are the 10 nutrients (almost) everyone should supplement with:

  1. Vitamin D
  2. Magnesium
  3. Vitamin K2
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Iodine
  6. Krill Oil
  7. Vitamin A
  8. L-Tyrosine
  9. Zinc and Copper
  10. Methyl Folate and Methyl B12

* Bonus: Vitamins A, D, and K2 above work in a complementary fashion for immune, heart, and bone support. You can get them all in one supplement: Vitamins A-D-K.

 
 

VITAMIN D FOR BALANCED HORMONES, TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION, AND FOR IMMUNE FUNCTION

Sunshine’s Violet Light Prevents Nearsightedness, Says NIH Study_woman in sunVitamin D isn’t just the most important supplement – it is possibly the most important biohack. Vitamin D acts on over 1,000 different genes and serves as a substrate for sex hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen. It moderates immune function and inflammation. It assists in calcium metabolism and bone formation.  It’s no coincidence this is one of the few vitamins humans can make on their own, with a little bit of sunshine. Without it – we’d be dead.

It’s true that you can get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure, but for non-nudist non-equatorial dwellers, sun alone is not enough. Up north, the right wavelengths don’t reach you during the winter months.

If you’re concerned about toxicity from supplementation: if you’re getting adequate vitamin A, it’s almost impossible to overdose on D.

Suggested dose: 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight*

Form: D3 with vitamin K (Vitamins A-D-K)

When to take it: In the morning

*Your skin tone affects your dose. People with brown/black skin don’t convert sunlight into vitamin D as quickly as lighter-skinned people. If you’re brown-skinned, a safe bet is 1,500 IU / 25 pounds of body weight. No matter what your skin color, always test your blood levels because your individual response to dosage varies.

 
 

MAGNESIUM FOR WHOLE-BODY BENEFITS

gaba and magnesiumThis is almost as important as vitamin D, and almost as underappreciated. Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic processes, including all of those involved in ATP (energy) production. It’s also vital for proper transcription of DNA and RNA.

Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:

  • heart arrhythmias
  • tachycardia
  • headaches
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • metabolic syndrome
  • migraines, and pretty much everything else you don’t want.

Magnesium deficiency is also associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, anxiety disorders, and PMS.

Almost all Americans are deficient in magnesium. The majority of people don’t meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA), which is already too low.[6][7] Due to soil depletion and poor farming practices, it’s almost impossible to get enough magnesium from diet alone. Without a doubt – everyone should supplement with magnesium.

Suggested dose: 200-800mg per day (start low and work your way up)

Forms: Citrate, malate, glycinate, threonate, or orotate 

Learn more about the different types of magnesium and how to choose the best magnesium supplement.

When to take it: Before bedtime.

VITAMIN K2 FOR BONES AND HEART HEALTH

Unless you grew up eating only grass-fed meat and raw milk – you’re deficient in vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin involved in calcium metabolism. Excess calcium is deposited in arteries, leading to calcification and decreased vascular function. This is why vitamin K2 could play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and bone loss.[8][9]

Vitamin K1 is the kind of vitamin K found in leafy vegetables, and vitamin K2 is the kind found in grass-fed animal products. Ruminant animals like cows and sheep convert K1 into K2 in their stomachs, but humans don’t convert K1 to K2 as efficiently. Just another reason you should eat grass-fed animals – they can only get K1 from grass – not grains.

There are two subsets of vitamin K2: MK-4, and MK-7. MK-4 is the kind shown to produce the most benefit, but MK-7 is still important. You should consume a total of at least 2,000mcg per day of K1 and K2, at least 100mcg of which should be the MK-7 form.

Suggested dose: 2,000mcg per day (100mcg MK-7 form)

Forms: MK-4, and MK-7 (Vitamins A-D-K)

When to take it: At mealtime, along with some fat and your vitamin D supplement

VITAMIN C FOR IMMUNE FUNCTION AND TO COMBAT OXIDATIVE STRESS

12 Best Vegetables and Fruit to Eat Right Now_lemonsThis is one of the safest, most effective supplements you can take. Vitamin C is needed for collagen and connective tissue formation. It’s used to manufacture glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C can enhance immune function and help quench free radical damage. Studies show you can take up to 120 grams of vitamin C a day with no side effects (besides loose stools, aka disaster pants), not that I recommend this amount.[10]

It’s hard to get enough vitamin C from food, which is why 30 percent of the population is deficient.[11]

Some fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C, but cooking and storage methods can deplete vitamin C content. Supplementation with at least 500mg per day is optimal. You should take a lot more if you are suffering from chronic infections or healing from injury.

Suggested dose: 1-2 grams / day

Forms: Ascorbic acid or liposomal vitamin C

When to take it: In the morning and evening, but it’s best not to take it after a workout as isolated antioxidants can negate the insulin sensitivity gained from exercise.

IODINE FOR YOUR THYROID, BRAIN, AND IMMUNE SYSTEM

From breakfast to dessert, these easy sous vide recipes prove that you can create restaurant-worthy meals from the comfort of your kitchen.Iodine is crucial for proper thyroid function and metabolism. It also enhances immune function and prevents brain damage.[12] Iodine deficiency is widespread, so supplementation is a good idea. Physically active people are at especially high risk for deficiency because you lose iodine through sweat.[13]

You can get some iodine from seafood, but unless you’re eating it with every meal, you probably won’t get enough. If you suffer from a thyroid condition, consult your functional medicine doctor before you supplement with iodine.

Suggested dose: 150 mcg to 1000 mcg (1 mg) per day

Forms: Kelp powder sourced from clean waters or potassium iodide capsules

When to take it: Once daily, with food

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS FOR YOUR BRAIN, HEART, AND SKIN

This is a tricky one. Small doses of high-quality fish oil reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and even enhance muscle growth, but poor quality or high doses can cause more problems than they help to solve. Not all fish oil is created equal.  Most of the brands you are likely to buy at your local grocery are contaminated, oxidized, and not very potent.  If you can’t find a good fish oil, you’re much better off avoiding it altogether.

That’s why I reach for a combination of fish oil and krill oil. Krill is more stable and it is phosphorylated, meaning it’s easier for your brain to use. It also comes with astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant.

There are real benefits to taking EPA and DHA, but most of these are strongest if your diet is deficient in omega-3s, or too high in omega-6’s. Most people don’t get nearly enough omega-3s through diet alone. Humans need 350mg of DHA and EPA a day to have optimal brain function. If you’re eating grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish several times a week, you’ll get there. If you can’t find grass-fed meat or wild-caught seafood, you should supplement with 500-1000mg of krill oil per day.

Suggested dose: 2000mg per day

Forms: Krill Oil

When to take it: With meals

BuyBulletproof Omega Krill Complex

These are just a few basic supplements I think most people would benefit from. If you’re looking for a more robust regimen, take a look at some of the following…

VITAMIN A FOR IMMUNITY, VISION, AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

Belly Fat Linked to Low Vitamin D Levels, Says Study_headerVitamin A is essential if you aren’t into organ meats like beef liver, kidney, and heart. Vitamin A is an important cofactor for numerous metabolic reactions and bodily functions. A quarter of Americans consume less than half the RDA of vitamin A, which is already too low.

An important thing to remember is that you can’t get vitamin A from plants. Plants don’t have vitamin A, they have beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is poorly converted into vitamin A, which is why some populations develop vitamin A deficiency despite consuming far more than they should have required. Sorry vegetarians and vegans, carrots aren’t going to cut it.

Suggested dose: 3,000-10,000 IU per day

Forms: Retinol (a good source of vitamin A is cod liver oil, which also has vitamin D) (Vitamins A-D-K)

When to take it: With meals

L-TYROSINE FOR MOOD

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that boosts mood, cognition, physical and mental stress response, and healthy glandular function. It quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier to increase the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It’s also a building block for thyroid hormone.

Your body can make it, but it depletes when you’re stressed, and with modern living, most people’s production can’t keep up. Studies have shown that cadets in combat training supplementing with L-Tyrosine had reduced negative effects from physical and psychosocial stress on mental performance.[14]

Suggested dose: 500-2000mg per day

Forms: Pure L-Tyrosine

When to take it: Whenever you want

ZINC + COPPER FOR YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND ENERGY

Zinc and copper both serve hundreds of critical tasks to keep you healthy, and I take them together for a couple reasons:

1)    Too much zinc can decrease copper levels in your body.

2)    Together, zinc and copper form the antioxidant copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), one of your body’s most critical natural defense mechanisms.

Zinc is a key mineral in the support of healthy immune function, energy production, and mood. It’s important to supplement because it can be tough to get a meaningful amount from food, and your body doesn’t store it, meaning you need to replenish each day.

You need copper to work in conjunction with zinc, and for proper vascular and heart function. Most of the U.S. is woefully deficient in copper, consuming only 0.8mg per day. This is worrying since less than 1mg per day is enough to cause heart attacks.

Copper intake has fallen over the last century due to modern farming and dietary practices. Modern fruits, vegetables, and conventional meats are low in copper, containing 75 percent less than they used to.

Suggested dose: 15mg zinc orotate and 1-2mg copper orotate per day

Form: Capsule

When to take it: Outside of meals/supplements containing iron, calcium, and phytates, which can decrease absorption of zinc

METHYL B-12 AND METHYL FOLATE FOR BRAIN POWER AND IMMUNE FUNCTION

melatonin sleep supplementsMost people are deficient in vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves, and regenerate cells. B12 lowers homocysteine and protects against atherosclerosis. It’s necessary for maintaining methylation reactions that repair DNA and prevent cancer. One of the most crucial areas for B12 is the brain.[15]

Folate deficiency can also cause mental symptoms, although B12 is more likely to be a problem. Folate and B12 are both required for mental function, and a deficiency in one produces a deficiency in the other, but folate will not correct a B12 deficiency in the brain. Folate also supports a healthy heart and nervous system. If you make the mistake of treating B12 deficiency without folate, you can get permanent brain damage. Likewise, high amounts of folate without adequate B12 can cause neurological conditions. That’s why I take them together.

Suggested dose: 5mg+ of methylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin and 800mcg+ of folate (5-MTHF or folinic acid, NOT folic acid)

Forms: Capsule and/or lozenge

When to take it: Daily with food

 

The list above was a small portion of supplements to consider taking. They’ll provide you with a foundation for further supplementation with things like smart drugs and sleep hacking supplements.

Supplementation is something everyone should do, but how much depends on your diet and other lifestyle factors. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor to figure out an individualized plan that works for you.

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what supplements should i take
 

I’m often asked questions like “what supplements should I take,” “why should I take supplements,” and “do we really even need supplements at all.” After all, if you, like me, are following a healthy lifestyle, I’ll wager that you probably eat plenty of plants, prioritize sleep, hydrate with filtered (or, dare I say at the risk of wearing my tinfoil hat, structured) water, and expose yourself to the sun as much as possible. 

In other words, you, like me are probably what I call a “healthy, woo-woo geek”. You are an intelligent, well-informed person who embraces your softer side spirituality and also pride yourself on being passionate about health, nutrition, science, and fitness.

So why would you need to take supplements for health, fitness, and longevity? Doesn’t nutrient-dense food, good water, and relatively clean living give you enough crucial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants? 

I get the question: life is already complicated, there is a dizzying array of supplements to choose from, and the expense can add up fast, as can the clutter and confusion from eight billion bottles of capsules, tinctures, powders, oils, tablets and packets in your pantry. Things can get complex fast, and no one – including me – wants to spend their precious time counting and swallowing pills. I’ve definitely been overwhelmed by the amount of space that supplements can occupy (in fridges and travel suitcases), and the time and monetary expenses of tracking and ordering new bottles.

Moreover, supplements can be dangerous. I’ve dedicated podcasts to exposing the deceptive tactics that some supplement companies employ and explored controversial fringe supplements.

So in this article, I’m going to present you with some pretty compelling information (all research-based, mind you) to support the notion that supplements can indeed amplify the benefits of your healthy, woo-woo geek lifestyle, especially if you’re a hard-charging, high-achiever like I profess to be. I’ll provide scientifically-validated reasons that supplements help optimize health, performance, and longevity. Then I will outline the exact supplements that I take (and recommend to my family and friends), and give you a handy-dandy guide for proper dosing and timing.


Scientific Reasons Why You Need Supplements (Even If You’re Doing Everything Right)

Let’s begin with this: our modern, post-industrial, polluted, toxin-laden lifestyle demands more nutrients than food can provide.

That’s right: the chronic stressors of modern life—whether it’s the iPhone screen interfering with your circadian rhythms and chronobiology or the never-ending work deadlines—increase your nutrient needs.

Every day, you face hundreds of toxins—pollutants in the air, degraded plastic byproducts in drinking water, chemicals in cleaning products, and pesticides in our food – which further increase our bodies’ needs for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients are necessary to help shuttle toxins through natural detox pathways and prevent the formation of DNA-damaging free radicals. Even exercise is a stressor that increases your body’s need for nutrients.

Furthermore, if you’re a hard-charging, high-performing exercise enthusiast (like many of the people reading this), your nutrient requirements far exceed the recommendations for the general, sedentary population.  

To make matters worse, you’re likely not getting the full array of nutrients from the food that prior generations enjoyed. Due to modern farming techniques and fertilizers, most soil is depleted of nutrients, which decreases the beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in conventionally-grown crops.

So perhaps eating organic is the ultimate solution? While some studies suggest that organically-grown foods contain more nutrients than non-organic, other studies conclude that there are no significant differences. Furthermore, for most of human history (and prehistory), our ancestors ate now nearly-extinct, dense cell-rich carbohydrates in the form of foods such as wild tubers, which provided essential prebiotics that helped probiotic bacteria flourish (in contrast to the refined “acellular” grains and white rice that comprise modern carbohydrates).

Along the same lines, the abundance of refined carbohydrates and processed foods create significant blood sugar swings and glycemic variability our ancestors also didn’t deal with to as great an extent. A glance at a coffee shop display case or hotel breakfast bar that features bagels, muffins, and sugary cereals explains why many people need a snack a couple hours later just to make it through the inevitable mid-morning blood sugar crash. Blood sugar imbalances lead to chronic inflammation and may be responsible for up to 80% of modern diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (nicknamed “type 3 diabetes”), obesitydepression, and cancer.

Similarly, the meat, eggs, and dairy products commonly found in grocery stores deliver fewer anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, than those from wild or pastured animals. Speaking of omega-3 fatty acids, most Western diet munchers consume an imbalanced ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids, further predisposing us for rampant chronic inflammation.

To make it even more complicated, modern harvesting, shipping, processing, and storage techniques degrade the nutrient content of food. Plants grown with modern fertilizer can contain only 25% of the micronutrients of those grown using more traditional farming methods, and nutrients degrade as they are shipped and sit on store shelves. A fresh-picked apple is more nutritious than the apples you buy at the supermarket in winter, which were likely treated with 1-methylcyclopropene and could be up to 10 months old (according to an FDA spokesperson). And the very preservatives used to maintain “freshness” could impede the bioavailability of the food’s nutrients – and increase your body’s need for nutrients to process these synthetic additives. Similarly, many common medications for acid reflux and hypertension also inhibit nutrient absorption.

Then there are precious fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D. Though the recommendations for sufficient Vitamin D levels are controversial, it’s safe to say that many Americans do not get enough Vitamin D. Even if we’re doing our best to get sun exposure – whether it’s a morning walk or going outside for lunch – it’s rare to get as much sunlight (and Vitamin D) as our outdoor-dwelling ancestors did.

Last but not least, our ability to absorb nutrients from food decreases as we age. Given the scientifically demonstrated longevity benefits of caloric restriction, it seems silly to argue that one could ignore calories and simply eat more food to obtain nutrients. This is another crucial area where supplements come in – a helpful boost for those of us wanting to live longer using strategies such as intermittent fasting, alternate-day fasting or caloric restriction.


But Wait – Our Ancestors Didn’t Take Supplements, So Why Should I?

I love to use the wisdom of our ancestors to optimize my life, but I also believe in a healthy dose of “better living through science”—the ultimate marriage of ancestral wisdom and modern science.

In this case, the assumption that previous generations didn’t take supplements is simply not true. Ancient supplements include root, stem, and leaf teas targeted for specific symptoms, medicinal powders ground by mortar and pestles, and highly concentrated oil extracts. Just because these dietary supplements don’t look like the capsules and ridiculously-oversized tubs of powders doesn’t mean that they weren’t supplements.

Additionally, our ancestors certainly consumed dirt, which we now know contains a wide range of beneficial probiotics. Perhaps even more compelling is the notion that animals, ranging from insects to chimps, self-medicate and supplement by consuming specific plants. Furthermore, the methods that we use to gather, cook, and consume food are drastically different from those of our ancestors, leading to different degrees of nutrient availability and absorption.

For example, we generally eat only animal muscle and discard the collagen-rich connective tissues. Previous generations – as recent as our grandparents – simmered animal carcasses for hours, liberating collagen, gelatin, and fat-soluble vitamins from connective tissues. In a way, the soups our ancestors consumed are equivalent to the glucosamine/chondroitin joint supplements that line the shelves of GNC and the now-trendy bone broth that can be found at high-end restaurants. To learn more about ancestral nutrition, the Weston A. Price Foundation provides useful guidelines on finding and preparing nutrient-dense foods in ways that our grandparents would recognize.


OK, I’m Convinced… So What Supplements Should I Take, And Where Do I Start?

In the past year, as you can read about in great detail here, I’ve translated the knowledge gained from years of reading, researching and experimenting to co-found my very own supplement company, Kion. Kion supplements satisfy my own strict standards for quality and “scratch my own itch” as products that I personally use, endorse, and take myself every day.

The goal in creating the Kion supplement line—for both the existing products and some extremely unique formulations that are currently being developed using some of the best raw ingredients on the face of the planet—was to merge the best that modern science and ancient wisdom have to offer to enable you to optimize your body and brain.

For the Kion supplements that you are specifically about to discover and read about, Kion team members and I personally sourced each ingredient, designed optimal ratios, and controlled the manufacturing processes to ensure the highest purity, potency, and value.

So, without further ado, here is a list of supplements that my family and I personally take, along with their benefits:


Kion Aminos

Kion Aminos is a carefully-chosen blend of eight essential amino acids that can boost your energy, fuel your workout, and stave off cravings.

I first began using essential amino acids when I was racing Ironman triathlon and needed a fast, anabolic protein source that didn’t have many calories and that I could take any time, anyplace for sleep, recovery, muscle growth, and a host of additional functions.

You are likely aware of the benefits of a protein-rich diet, especially for athletes, since muscle cells are built from protein. You’re also likely aware of “collagen,” the latest darling of the supplement industry. You can put essential amino acids (definitely not to be confused with their inferior cousins branched-chain amino acids) into this category, and get the same benefits without the calories or added fillers found in supplements such as protein and collagen powders.

While essential amino acids are indeed the building blocks of proteins, they also perform many other important physiologic functions. For example, essential amino acids regulate genetic expression, including genes related to oxidative stress and immunity.

The amount of essential amino acids you need for optimal function is heavily influenced by your stress levels and workout intensity. While some amino acids can be synthesized by your body, other amino acids, specifically these essential amino acids (EAAs) I am talking about must come from food – and that’s why you eat complete protein sources such as, say, steak or eggs.

However, amino acid utilization (the percentage of amino acids that are actually used in your body) from food is significantly less than 100%. For example, your body can use approximately 48% of egg protein, less than 32% from meat, poultry or fish, and less than 18% from whey and soy protein.

With this utilization in mind, I designed Kion Aminos to have extremely optimal amino acid proportions. The amino acid utilization of Kion Aminos is a whopping 99%, and it’s absorbed by the body within 23 minutes, with nearly zero calories! No other protein source enables such efficient conversion of amino acids into protein synthesis – and it’s suitable for omnivores, Paleo enthusiasts, vegans, vegetarians, and ketosis lovers.

Kion Aminos are available in a tablet form (with no binders, fillers, stearates, coating, or dyes) or a dissolvable powder with refreshing cool lime or mixed berry flavors that are 100% natural and sugar-free.


Kion Flex

Kion Flex has been carefully designed to take care of your joints. With Kion Flex, my desire was to create a veritable “shotgun” of nutrients I could mainline into my body when overextended or sore, without having to use three to ten different bottles.

Whether you’re an athlete, outdoor enthusiast, or looking to feel your best as you age, joint health is key to maintaining an active lifestyle. Being proactive with the health of your joints can reduce the risk of exercise-related injuries and allow you to continue to do the activities you love for a lifetime.

Kion Flex is a natural supplement for joint health that’s been proven to:

  • Reduce mild, temporary joint discomfort from overuse
  • Decrease exercise-related soreness and swelling
  • Support a healthy inflammatory response to physical activity
  • Promote optimal joint health, flexibility, and mobility

Kion Flex is the natural, trusted solution you’ve been looking for to enjoy the active life you love. Pick some up here.


Kion Lean

Managing blood sugar is of paramount importance for health, high performance, and longevity.

With my own genetically tested propensity for type II diabetes, and my desire to not completely eliminate carbohydrates from my diet (what can I say – I dig Italian food, dark chocolate and red wine) I wanted something that would immediately lower my blood sugar after a meal.

Enter Kion Lean, a proprietary formula that combines the benefits of two staple foods in the diets of centenarians from “blue zones” like Okinawa: wild bitter melon extract (Glycostat) and rock lotus (Shilianhua).

Rock lotus optimizes insulin control through several mechanisms, including regulating levels of circulating insulin and promoting efficient glucose metabolism. A Chinese clinical trial studying Type II diabetics showed that rock lotus (20 mg, 3x/day) helps maintain blood glucose levels in a healthy range, while a Japanese clinical trial gave rock lotus extract to healthy company managers, finding reduced body fat and improvements in liver function.

In laboratory studies, wild bitter melon extract has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation in macrophages,protect against fatty liver disease, activate signaling pathways that support fat loss and longevity, and regulate blood glucose and blood pressure. I’ve tested my own blood sugar after a carbohydrate-rich meal for which I’ve popped two of these beforehand, and it gives me a night and day difference in my blood sugar levels, allowing me to return to ketosis extremely quickly after a carbohydrate refeed.

And because of that, this supplement is good not only for your waistline, but also for anti-aging. Kion Lean enhances longevity by regulating the blood glucose and insulin responses, leading to healthy liver function and healthy body fat levels.


Kion Colostrum

I first began using colostrum when I wanted to protect my gut from the rigors of racing triathlons and endurance competitions in hot and stressful environments, especially when competing in events such as Ironman Hawaii. 

But it turns out that colostrum is good for far, far more than simply sealing up the lining of a leaky gut or helping your stomach to feel impervious to the stressors of hard physical exercise.

As a matter of fact, this goat milk-derived colostrum in the form of Kion Colostrum is one of my favorite supplements since it contains a huge variety of macro- and micronutrients, including growth factors, growth-promoting hormones, lactoferrin (a protein that helps with iron absorption), and immune-modulating molecules such as cytokines and immunoglobulins. Additionally, a broad spectrum of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are in colostrum. Together, these compounds can effectively rebuild your gutdecrease intestinal permeability brought on by strenuous exercise, increase your VO2max, strengthen your immune system, and help build lean muscle mass.

And if you’re looking to enhance your growth hormone levels without fringe injections or hormone replacement therapy, colostrum is, bar none, your best bet to get that done in a natural way. Plus, this supplement is derived from 100% grass fed, fully organic goat milk from a goat farm near my house, so I can attest to the extreme quality of the colostrum in Kion Colostrum.


SuperEssentials Fish Oil

I’ve always said that “‘taking a bad fish oil is worse than taking no fish oil at all.”

So I’m constantly on the hunt for a joint-protecting, brain-enhancing, vision-assisting fish oil that isn’t rancid, is sustainably sourced, and contains a powerhouse of antioxidants to keep the oil stable, such as astaxanthin and antioxidant vitamins.

Enter SuperEssentials fish oil. This supplement includes the highest quality fish oil derived from small cold-water fish, with a rare 1:1 balance of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (you aren’t going to find this in nearly any other fish oil that exists – especially with the addition of astaxanthin to keep it incredibly stable). These omega-3 fatty acids are clinically proven to regulate inflammation, enhance cognition and mood, and support healthy circulatory and brain function.

In addition to fish oil, this supplement also contains another beneficial fatty acid, omega-6 gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), derived from borage seed oil, as well as a blend of antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin D and Vitamin A, and the super-powerful antioxidant astaxanthin (which is basically like edible sunscreen).

Astaxanthin, a carotenoid derived from algae, has been shown in lab studies to have potent antioxidant effects, reverse some effects of aging, improve metabolic function, and even enhance the appearance of skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Numerous studies have shown the immuneskeletal, and hormonal benefits of Vitamin D and Vitamin A. This is one of the only guilt-free fish oils on the face of the planet and of course, it gives you zero of the dreaded fish burps.


CapraCleanse Pro

Detox” is a popular health buzzword, and there are a lot of silly “detoxes” out there (think cayenne, lemon, and honey tea). For a simple cleanse I can use throughout the year, I turn to CapraCleanse Pro. It contains over 20 ingredients that help your body initiate Phase I and Phase II detoxification processes, ultimately decreasing the toxic load you get from the chemicals we can’t escape in the modern world.

Think of this cleansing supplement just like Kion Flex – it’s an entire shotgun of nutrients that limit the number of other supplements you need to take and drastically simplifies internal cleanup.

Approximately 63 million Americans suffer from some type of digestive disorder, and constipation is usually a symptom. This lack of mobility of food through your colon can create a fertile breeding ground for parasites, Candida yeast, and pathogenic bacteria – and that’s why I first started using CapraCleanse. It is comprised of a fiber blend of psyllium husk and seed, flaxseed oil, and inulin that can help move that mucoid plaque through your colon and simultaneously feed probiotic bacteria.

The elimination is further aided by CapraCleanse’s colon blend of rhubarb root, marshmallow root, slippery elm bark, cape aloe, fennel seed, and fenugreek seed. These ingredients have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries and been validated by modern scientific methods. After the colon blend mixes with the fiber to push out colon buildup, the mineral blend of fermented goat milk mineral wheymagnesium citrate, and beetroot helps restore the integrity of gut cells.

Finally, the botanical blend of milk thistle extracthyssopginger rootyucca rootrosemary, and turmeric aid digestion and provide regenerative compounds to rebuild your digestive tract during the detox and cleanse. CapraCleanse combines these powerful ingredients in carefully-chosen ratios to holistically restore intestinal mobility, detoxify, and enhance gut integrity.

You get the idea. This one covers all the bases for gut cleanup, without the complexity of an entire box of detox supplements.


Kion Oregano Oil

Kion Oregano is a potent boost to your immune system, which is especially important when seasonal sicknesses are being passed around, or anytime you’re around crowds of people, sick kids, etc.

I first began using it after interviewing my father about the benefits (on an old-school podcast several years ago), when discovering he used it as a twice-daily health tonic.

Kion Oregano Oil is a blend of Wild Mediterranean Oregano Leaf Oil and Sweet Almond Oil in a 7:1 ratio for maximal absorption, and it has been laboratory tested to ensure purity.

Essential oils concentrate and amplify the healing power of plants, and they act as intelligent immune modulators, increasing targeted immune responses when threatened by pathogens and regulating non-specific inflammation. Carvacrol, the active ingredient of oregano oil, is a powerful antioxidantantiviralantifungalantiparasitic, and antimicrobial compound.

Unfortunately, most oregano supplements are fake (they really come from thyme plants) or extremely low in the active ingredient carvacrol. Not Kion Oregano. It is a must-have for anyone who travels or who doesn’t want sickness to halt a workout, vacation, or any other important moment in life. This one is in my laptop satchel always, and I often use it on skin scrapes too.


Creatine

what supplements should i takeFor as long as I can remember, I’ve taken 5 grams of creatine per day.

Why? Frankly, it’s one of the most researched and safe performance and cognition-enhancing molecules on the face of the planet.

Creatine plays a crucial role in the production of cellular energy by making ATP, a molecule needed by all cells in your body. An organic acid naturally produced in the body from other amino acids, creatine is found in foods such as meats, eggs, and fish, and is commonly deficient in heavily exercising individuals, the elderly, and people who eat a primarily plant-based diet. With increases in exercise or as a result of muscle damage, your physiological need for creatine is increased.

Creatine supplementation has been shown to support increased work capacity and power output of the muscle while promoting physical endurance and lean body mass gains. Outside of the athletic population, creatine has also been shown to lessen muscle breakdown and even to support cognitive function, especially in aging populations. Because creatine stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine, it releases energy to aid cellular function during stress. This effect causes strength increases after creatine supplementation, and can also benefit the brain, bones, muscles, and liver.

I currently use Thorne Creapure. The creatine in Thorne is derived from Creapure, which is a micronized form of creatine monohydrate that’s colorless and odorless. This form of creatine has highly enhanced solubility, so it mixes well with water, juice, smoothies or just about anything you toss it into.


Sleep Remedy + CBD

what supplements should i take

I get dozens of questions about which pre-sleep nutrients or supplements I personally use. After all, from mixes of apple cider vinegar and raw honey to phosphatidylserine to melatonin and beyond, the wide world of pre-sleep supplements can be quite confusing.

So I keep things simple. I only ever use two supplements at night: “Sleep Remedy” and “NatureCBD.”

The first one, Sleep Remedy, is a formula created by a sleep physician and former Navy SEAL Dr. Kirk Parsley, who wanted to design something that would help extremely hard-charging, stressed-out folks settle down at night without the use of damaging sleep drugs like Ambien or Valium.

You can listen to my interview with him at “A Navy SEAL Physician Reveals How Hard-Charging, High-Achievers Can Fall Asleep Fast“.

The sleep remedy supplement contains simply very small amounts of the nutrients involved in the production of melatonin, specifically:

  • L-tryptophan
  • 5HTP
  • Vitamin D3
  • Magnesium
  • …and a very small dose of melatonin.

Since an increase in brain GABA levels is a key player in the initiation of REM sleep, Sleep Remedy also includes a small amount of a unique form of GABA called “phGABA” that, unlike most forms of GABA, can actually cross into the brain. Here’s a study that just came out yesterday on the potent sleep aid and growth hormone increasing effects of just 100mg of GABA.

what supplements should i take

BioCBD+ is a water-soluble hemp extract blended with curcumin to increase absorption efficiency that offers relaxation delivery mechanisms that go beyond capsules. Here are just a few of the key studies on CBD and sleep:

In sum: smaller doses of CBD provide you with a calm and relaxed focus that comes in handy during everything from writing to music to parties to workouts – very similar to what you would experience with THC, but without the psychoactive or paranoia properties. And if you combine these smaller doses of CBD with common natural sleep-inducing compounds like melatonin, magnesium, or lemon balm, then you can get yourself into an even more relaxed state. But larger doses of CBD (which are going to range based on the actual absorption of whichever CBD blend you are using) can be used all by themselves to enhance sleep or combat insomnia.

You can learn more about CBD in the most comprehensive article I’ve ever written on the stuff, which is at “A 100% Legal Way To Get All The Health Benefits Of Smoking Weed Without Actually Smoking Weed.” If you don’t have the time to read all that, and instead want a succinct audio explanation of how CBD works, then take a listen to an extremely recent podcast episode I recorded with SmartDrugSmarts entitled “Cannabidiol: THC’s Legal Sibling“.

Finally, I’m often asked if I take a multivitamin. I do indeed (this one, to be exact), and have included the multivitamin information in the dosing and timing guide below.


Supplement Dosing and Timing Guide

Now that I’ve covered which supplements I personally take for optimized health, performance, and longevity, there are still more questions to answer to ensure that you’re getting maximal benefit from supplements.

When should you take which supplement? Which supplements should be combined with each other or with a meal? And what’s the proper dosage?

The timing and combinations of your supplement protocol can significantly affect how well your body absorbs and uses nutrients. I designed my own supplement routine based on data from the latest studies, including advice from resources such as Nutrition Expert from Healthspan, the Examine Research DigestSuppversityAlan Aragon’s Research Review and my own master’s degree in exercise physiology, biomechanics and human nutrition, to help you maximize your health and value from supplements.

So here’s a handy timing guide that takes into account the solubility and mechanisms of action of each of the supplements. This is what a typical day looks like for me in terms of supplements:

Morning, empty stomach

  • Kion Colostrum – 4 capsules. I take up to 8 capsules during periods of heavy exercise. I am not too brand specific on probiotics and I “rotate” the probiotics that I do take. But I always stack probiotics with my colostrum, especially if I’m traveling and don’t have access to a wide variety fermented foods. 
  • Kion Flex – 4-6 capsules, depending on how beat up my body is. If injured, I take another 6 capsules at night before bed, so my body can recover optimally during sleep. For this supplement to work best, take it on an empty stomach in the morning or evening. 
  • Thorne Creapure – 1 scoop (5 grams). I take this year-round. No cycling at all.
  • At this time of day, I’ll also add 10 drops of oil of oregano to a glass of water if I’ve been traveling, have been around sick people, or need an energy boost. Honestly, my timing of oil of oregano intake varies widely – e.g. before I hop on an airplane, after I’ve been around a kid with a cold, before a book signing or extensive handshaking at a conference, etc.

With breakfast

Mid-afternoon, pre- or post-workout

  • Kion Aminos – 1 scoop in a glass of water or 5-10 tablets, depending on the difficulty of the workout. This supplement works best 30 minutes before a workout so that you go into your workout with high blood levels of amino acids. For long workouts, repeat the dose once every one hour of exercise. To avoid competition among other amino acids, try to avoid taking with much other protein. This one also works well before bed to support sleep, or at any time during the day if you are fasting. It can also be used for post-workout recovery. Sky’s the limit on aminos. 

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Before dinner

  • Kion Lean – 2 capsules. Take this supplement before or after your largest (or highest carbohydrate-containing) meal of the day to regulate the blood sugar response.

Before bed


Summary

So that’s it! I trust this guide gave you ideas on how to enhance your health, performance, and recovery without needing to pop a dizzying array of pills.

I get lots of inquiries about other supplements like greens powders, l-carnitine, high-dose Vitamin B, beta-alanine, sleep supplements and so on. I highly recommend specifically tailoring your supplement protocol to meet your specific goals, and also to use the comments section below to ask me your other specific questions. Ideally, you should choose supplements that address your own genetic results or blood biomarkers, and to learn more about personalizing nutrition and supplements to your genetics, listen to my recent podcast with Dr. Ben Lynch, author of “Dirty Genes”, or read my article about customizing your diet to you.

So what do you think? Which supplements have you found to be personally useful? Do you still think supplements are a waste of time and money? Do you have questions about other supplements folks have recommended to you? Leave your questions, comments, and feedback in the comments section below!